Stourbridge vs Sale FC

Highlights Video

Sale, who were missing 10 first choice players and had only one fit back on the bench in the guise of second team player Callum Owen, looked like they might be in for a long afternoon.  However, the new boys and the boys who stepped up from the 2’s took control and apart from two penalties Stourbridge really didn’t get a look in until the 79th minute of the game.

Chris Mayor who’s clearly benefited from resting his body for most of last season, sliced through to score followed by a simple conversion by Man of the Match Chris Johnson put us at 7-5, although Stourbridge were getting penalties pretty regularly for offside and ruck infringements, the traffic was pretty much a rearguard action from them.  Tom Ailes picked up at the ruck in front of the posts and jogged through unopposed for Johnson to add the conversion from directly in front.  14-8 to Sale and the boys were in full flow,

Then it was the skipper’s turn to head over the line and we’d gone from 5-0 down to 21-11 and then an added penalty to head in at the break 24-11 up against a team with the second best defensive record in the league (after Sale’s).

When Stourbridge came back on, they tried to up the pace only for Anthony “Bingo” Bingham to have the ball pop into his hands to literally step over the line and score for the simplest of tries. Add a penalty on the hour mark and Stourbridge were into their heaviest number of points conceded this season at 32-11.

The next try must be close to being the try of the season.  Anthony Bingham received a cross field kick from the Stourbridge 10 and then stepping through a few tackles took off down the wing, leaving players in his wake to be caught just short of the line and not for the first time this season used his strength to make another few yards before hitting the deck and dotting the ball down.  A superb solo effort on a pitch designed for him to show off his pace and balance.

Having set the standards for scintillating play, we then stepped into the realm of the surreal for an even shorter debut than the one by Matt Sturgess at the start of the season (who was injured before he’d been announced as a substitute).  Harvey Derby, who was fit again after a pre-season injury took to the field in play in place of Tom Ailes with 10 minutes left on the clock.  As Stourbridge were attacking from their line, he committed a high tackle (a seat belt tackle) which wasn’t really protested by Stourbridge, but after the next stop in play clearly annoyed the referee who sent him to the bin at 73 minutes.  Hopefully his three minutes of play is added to in the next game against Wharfedale.

The final action of the game saw Stourbridge get a try through their powerful flanker who went over from five metres to give the local fans something to cheer about.

Stourbridge as a club have so many things going for them, excellent facilities, superb support, a beautiful setting and a dedicated group of players.  It was also good to see their under 10’s acting as mascots and ball boys for the game itself. Something that we do as well and should as far as possible be recreated throughout this level of rugby as it increases the family atmosphere.

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Stourbridge v Sale FC 1st XV

Sale travelled to “Fortress Stour” with playoff ambitions and came back with an unlikely but well deserved five points.  Stourbridge haven’t dropped a game at home this season whereas Sale have sometimes struggled on the road, with two of our three loses away from Heywood Road.  Prior to this match there’d also been some concerns about the sheer volume of penalties we’ve given away at the breakdown which often created more work for ourselves than was necessary.

This time the struggle away from home didn’t materialise and by half time Sale had an unassailable 22-point lead.  Director of Rugby Jonathan Keep was pleased that his team stuck to their game plan and were starting to approach the level he’s looking for.

An early penalty from Liam McGovern was followed in short order with tries by Sam Stelmaszek and Tom Ailes.   Unfortunately, we lost Tom Ailes from the restart to foul play, resulting in a red card for Nick Murphy, the Stourbridge Lock who had only been on the pitch for 7 minutes.

This left the home side at 14 men with an uphill battle playing a rampant Sale.  A few short minutes after the red card, Ciaran Connolly returning from an elongated break from the game, scored, and although the conversion was missed, Liam McGovern added to his already monumental tally for Sale by converting two of the three first half tries.

This brought us to the break 22-0.

Shortly after the break Jack Moorhouse went over from a cross field kick to secure the bonus point meaning that the game had essentially been killed off, or should have been.  This league is a tough place and Stourbridge weren’t in third place in the league through luck.  At 27-0 down they started to score some points, a little too late, but, on 47 minutes, Stour scored a converted try.  No panic from Sale, who responded with a try from Chris Johnson converted by points machine Liam McGovern and order was restored, briefly, until Sale FC Debutante and Sale Sharks emerging star Paolo Odogwu was yellow carded at the 60-minute mark.  With the sides levelled up, Stourbridge scored two converted tries within 4 minutes. The Sale of last year, might have panicked or indeed potentially have found a way to let the home team back into the game, but with Christopher Johnson steadying the team with a drop goal, Liam put the result beyond doubt with a Penalty at 72 minutes to take the score to 40-19.

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Last season at this point, Sale were hoping other teams would drop points, lose games or not get a bonus point just so we could survive in the league and not become a one hit wonder.  This season there’s a determination and steel to their play which makes them largely unrecognisable from 12 months ago.  This weekend sees us for the second week running playing the 3rd placed team.  This time, we are looking to reverse our result from playing down in the East Midlands.

Come down and join the boys in the hunt for promotion.

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