OLD Halesonians RFC suffered a worrying fifth straight loss as they went down 18-12 at home to Stoke.

Despite controlling much of the possession and territory, the Wassell Grove outfit failed to convert their dominance into points and a first league victory since Christmas.

Two soft tries were gifted to the visitors either side of half time when the misfiring Hales half backs, Chris Wagstaff and Rhys Pritchard, failed to clear their lines from scrum ball deep inside their 22 .

Hales chased the game late on and saw some promising glimmers of potential but the side still lacked the confidence and clinical edge They now face a challenging game at home against Camp Hill who lie immediately above them in the league.

After Hales saw the better of the opening exchanges, disaster struck when Chris Wagstaff fumbled the ball to allow flanker James Orange to pounce on the ball and dive over the line to put Stoke ahead. A penalty from fly half Steve Talbot extended the advantage six minutes later.

Hales struck back with a try just before the break. From a 22 drop-out, Wagstaff gathered and fed the ball to Richard Taylor, who powered through the Stoke midfield before offloading to Luke Smith who finished the move neatly.

But just after the break, fly half Pritchard failed to hold onto a ball provided to him and Richard Brown was the man to capitalise for Stoke. Another score then stretched the gap, before Talbot added a second penalty in the 64th minute to give Stoke an 18-5 lead.

The last quarter saw Hales lodge a spirited comeback with debutant winger Spencer Sutherland creating and finishing an excellent break.

Pritchard added the conversion to set up a tense finale. However, Hales were unable to manufacture the important third try.