Sutton Coldfield 13
Midlands One West
ANDY CONWAY scored a memorable try to help Stratford fight back to take victory against Sutton Coldfield at Pearcecroft.
In the sides’ first clash Stratford took the points in a low-scoring and hard fought match and so it proved again as Sutton led 10-3 at one point before the Black and Whites recovered to take the point via a try from Conway, who took the Dick Workman cup for man of the match, two Jack Young penalties and one from Nath Geekie.
From the kick-off both sides showed their determination and the pace was quick and the tackling fierce.
With just five minutes gone, a Stratford attack resulted in a penalty just outside the Sutton Coldfield 22 in a very kickable position.
Young, playing at outside half, stepped up and slotted the ball through the uprights to give Stratford a 3-0 lead.
Stratford was playing a territorial game so kept kicking to push the visitors back into their own half.
Sutton mounted wave after wave of attack and slotted a penalty onr ten minutes to tie the scores at 3-3.
Ten minute slater, Sutton went ahead. Another penalty was conceded by Stratford which allowed Sutton to put the ball deep into the right corner for a line-out.
At first Sutton attempted to maul the ball and Stratford was able to halt the advance, but only illegally.
With the penalty advantage Sutton chipped the ball over the top and won the chase with the help of a kindly bounce to scored a try just wide of the posts.
It was an easy conversion and now the visitors led 3-10.
Close to half time Stratford closed the gap.
The home side put a penalty into the corner but were not able to get across the line so, when Sutton was offside, Young took the three points on offer and the first half finished 6-10.
From the restart Stratford were on the front foot and suddenly centre Conway broke through two Sutton tacklers and evaded the rest of the defence for a great individual try in the right-hand corner.
The difficult conversion was just wide but Stratford led 11-10.
For the next 15 minutes the two sides battled without either being able to make headway.
Hard metres were won and then lost thanks to the toughness of the tackling.
Eventually the deadlock was broken with a Sutton penalty that gave them back the lead 11-13.
The advantage did not last for long when Stratford won a penalty and sub Geekie did the honours and the pendulum swung back 14-13.
Just three minutes later Stratford had the chance to extend the lead after substitute hooker Tom Hall won a penalty with good work in the ruck.
Unfortunately the reliable Geekie just missed so the home crowd had to carry on biting their nails.
Then with only a few minutes left to play Sutton won a penalty.
Surprisingly this kick also went wide so Stratford remained one point in front.
It had been a really entertaining 80 minutes of rugby with both sides leaving nothing on the pitch.
The final result could have gone either way but, ultimately, Stratford came away with four points and, once again, Sutton had to settle for the consolation of a losing bonus point. Stratford stay in fifth place in the table.
Stratford head to Whitchurch tomorrow (Saturday), kick off 2.15pm.
This is always a very hotly contested fixture and as Whitchurch won earlier in the season Stratford will definitely be out for revenge.
There will be a coach so keep an eye on the club website for details.