10:52am Thursday 24th April 2014
TITLE glory could be just one game away for promotion-chasing Stourbridge.
They travel to take on Harrogate this Saturday for the last game of the season as their three-way battle for league success goes right to the wire.
All options - promotion, a play-off place or nothing - are still on the table as rivals Macclesfield and Darlington Mowden Park go head-to-head on the very same day.
First-placed Macclesfield are four points ahead of both Darlington, who sit in second, and third-placed Stour.
Nothing but a bonus point success will do for the Stourton Park outfit as they look to slay the demons of last year's late play-off defeat.
It is that heartache that director of rugby Neil Mitchell thinks could prove the difference as his players prepare for the National League Two North season showdown.
He said: "There is so much standing on this game. Two years of hard work comes down to this.
"There was always going to be question marks about our character after what happened at the end of last season, but I think we have shown how much we have grown because of that.
"We have performed very well in the pressure games all season. The pain we suffered has stood us in good stead and we are better for it.
"The big pressure will now be on the other game as first and second play each other. They will have to try and deal with that."
Mitchell has called on his side to not only secure a five-point victory but also increase their points differential to themselves the best chance of lifting the league trophy.
He added: "It's not about getting four tries, it's about getting them and then going on to run up a big score.
"The message to the players is that a win at Harrogate is expected of them, especially if they want to play at a higher lever. They have shown throughout the season that they are more than capable of that.
"It has been a fantastic season and we have performed brilliantly at times. We have had some of the biggest crowds ever at Stourton Park. In other seasons we would have already been promoted by now, but instead we still have all options open to us.
"We will just be focused on doing our job."
The club will be without record try scorer Nathan Bressington for the crunch clash. It is a blow to Stour after he ran in five tries in their previous game against Bromsgrove.
He is set to be replaced by Gary Dipple.
Mitchell said: "Gary is more than capable of coming in. He probably has the quickest feet outside the Championship. It was more of a case of Nathan finishing the off the good work of the team against Bromsgrove."
© Copyright 2001-2014 Newsquest Media Group