10:38am Thursday 3rd April 2014
STOURBRIDGE director of rugby Neil Mitchell has called for his side to hit home the advantage they claimed when beating promotion rivals Darlington Mowden Park last weekend.
He underlined the importance of backing up such a big result ahead of his side travelling to take on Hull RUFC this Saturday.
Stour blew he title race wide open and took a massive step towards success this season with a vital 14-5 victory against Darlington.
After the game, Mitchell said: "The players put a lot into the match but must now back that up against Hull. I have told them to enjoy the win but to make sure they get their minds firmly on that game.
"It is no good putting in such a good performance against Darlington and then letting it slip against Hull. It is important that we now keep the pressure on the teams around us by getting the bonus point wins we need."
Last Saturday, second-placed Stour took on third-placed Darlington at a packed Stourton Park in game that could prove crucial to both sides' chances of promotion.
It was the home side that started the brighter of the two and showed their attacking intent in a game they couldn't afford to lose.
They also delivered a great defensive performance to smother the life out of a misfiring Mowden Park outfit that had put six tries past them in a rout back in November.
One telling area where Stour dominated in the first period was the scrum. Time and time again during the first exchanges it was Stour who came out on top.
It was this same weapon that proved crucial as the home side went over for a try with just six minutes on the clock.
A chip through by fly half Sam Robinson produced an attacking five metre scrum which Stour powered over the line for Chris Depper to touch down.
Then, just before the break, James Hearn made no mistake to give the home side an 8-0 lead at the interval.
The second half started similar to the first, with Mowden Park failing to really get at the home side.
Stour were unlucky not to score another try when the ref adjudged that Tatenda Mukarati's powerful drive for the line had been held up.
Two quick yellow cards in the first 15 minutes, first to Darlington's Vaioleti and then to Stourbridge's Ben Hughes, both doing their bit to stop dangerous looking opposition attacks, made the game a slightly scrappy affair as the forwards battled for superiority.
Finally, as the game wore on, Darlington got up a head of steam and a managed good spell of possession. A line out saw them catch and drive for Zylon McGaffin to make it 8-5.
As the game reached a crucial period, it would be the boot of James Hearn that would take the game away from Darlington.
Stour reacted well after giving away the try and soon got back into a telling rhythm with the ball in hand.
The pressure told and two quick-fire penalties in five minutes extinguished Darlington's fight.
The massive win for Stourbridge keeps all possibilities alive. Not only is it a big step towards securing the league's play-off place for a second-placed finish, but it keeps Stour firmly in the hunt for title glory.
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