Earlsdon 5 Stratford 67
Midlands Two West (South)
ALL week Stratford had prepared for a wet game against Earlsdon but upon arriving at the Westwood Heath venue the weather was fine and the size of the pitch was ideal for Stratford’s free-flowing, skilful game.
The outcome in Coventry was never in doubt as the black and whites took full advantage and opened up from the off.
Direct rugby from the forwards got them to within sniffing distance of the Earlsdon whitewash for eventual man of the match Will Matthews to follow the coach’s instruction to add a sniping element to his game and sneak over to open the scoring.
Only a few minutes later, big ball-carrying number 8 Si Greenwood crashed over to take his season’s try tally to three and make the score 10-0.
Stratford dominated the entire first half. Matthews and fly-half Nath Geekie controlled the players inside and outside of them whilst using a kicking game that never allowed Earsldon to get out of their own red zone.
Further tries from flying winger Charlie Powell, flanker Dan Dunmore and makeshift outside centre Dan Whitby left a half-time score of 29-0.
Early in the second half Earlsdon enjoyed their only moment of success when, following some sustained pressure, they managed to sneak over for their only score of the game.
However, this seemed to get the Pearcecroft outfit’s ‘Mad Blood Stirring’ as from then on they dominated every facet of play.
Stalwart Dave Pritchard regularly used his questionable kicking game to keep Stratford ahead of the territorial battle, which they used to streaked out of sight.
Debutant Tom Von, hooker Ben Cole, Matthews, Powell, replacement centre Jon Duncan and veteran winger Callum Cook all touched down in what turned out to be the best performance of the season so far.
Assistant coach Liam Jones was over the moon with the performance, saying: “I am delighted with the way the lads have responded. Their discipline was outstanding and the reason we were able to rack up such a big score.
“I love working with these guys, they are talented and hardworking and I’m really looking forward to a great season.”
The second team went down 25-22 at Pearcecroft to local rivals Shipston 2nds. It was a closely-fought game, in which Stratford led for much of, but a lack of replacements meant Stratford faded in the latter stages.
Despite this, the second team have already played half the number of fixtures they managed last season, so things are certainly looking rosy for the team led by manager Jon ‘Taz’ Tarrant.
This match was used to bring first team contenders John Bruns and Luke Griffiths another step further down the rehabilitation path as well as seeing the 2007/08 season 2nd XV leading try-scorer Alex Hazell making what Stratford hope will be the first of many appearances this season.
This Saturday the first team are in Midlands Intermediate Cup action at Leighton Buzzard and the 2nds are in the odd position of playing ‘away’ at Pearcecroft against Shottery, with the veterans hoping to visit Kidderminster.
Stratford have three men’s teams which train at Pearcecroft on Loxley Road on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm and there is a very successful ladies’ touch rugby section. Both teams are always recruiting and would be delighted to welcome new players, so if you are interested please get in touch.