8th Dec, 2016

Consistency is key for Stratford

Stratford Editorial 14th Jan, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

STRATFORD need to capitalise on the ‘best home form in the league’ to ensure a season to remember.

The Black & Whites made it seven successive wins at Pearcecroft with a 27-10 win against Hereford in Saturday’s Midlands One West fixture.

The result leaves Stratford third in the table, just one point behind joint pace-setters Bridgnorth and Bournville, although such is the closeness of the competition the top eight are separated by eight points while Hereford have games in hand to equal Stratford’s tally.

Director of rugby Tom Rance was delighted with the performance against Hereford, with tries from James Southall, Simon Baldwyn and Ash Bonner ending the visitors’ three-month unbeaten run.

Nath Geekie was peerless with his kicking, booting three conversions and two penalties.

But the test, says Rance, will be for Stratford to keep up their form home and away.

“At this point of the season, I think at home we have been the best team in the league,” he said. “But the test over a whole season is to be consistent home and away.

“If we can do that and build on our performances so far, we’ve got a great chance to secure our highest position in the league for a number of years.

“We’ve done well at home but inevitably it is harder away because we are not a professional side and players have family and work commitments. They come first and I understand that.

“At the start of the season, we said we would need to measure ourselves in terms of effort and aptitude with our opponents every Saturday.

“I can’t ask for any more from the players. We’re very much all about the squad – the ethos is to work with one squad in training and then it splits into two on Saturday. It means we can bring in players from week to week and the team doesn’t suffer.”

Rance suggests Bridgnorth are Stratford’s biggest threat and the Shropshire side still have to visit Pearcecroft.

He says Worcester Wanderers remain a danger and Hereford have what it takes to be a top three side so it is very much a case of all to play for.

“I would imagine the next four weeks will bring a clearer idea of which teams will be competing come the end of the season,” said Rance.

Stratford are set to be unchanged for the short trip to Kenilworth on Saturday before then facing Leek at home and Silhillians away.