Stratford 11 Moseley Oak 17
Midlands One West
GREY and miserable perfectly described the overhead conditions and so too the action on the pitch as Stratford were beaten in a forgettable opening match of 2017 at Pearcecroft on Saturday.
Stratford managed a losing bonus point in the meeting between the sides earlier in the season and were hoping for better second time around but, with an unfamiliar half-back combination, it was not going to be easy and so it proved.
The hosts started well and for the first ten minutes dominated possession and territory but were unable to make it count.
When Moseley won a penalty they were able to put the ball deep into the Stratford twenty-two to give themselves a good attacking platform.
Stratford were penalised when defending the maul and Moseley opted for a scrum just five metres out. Again the home side were penalised and Moseley took it quickly and darted over in the corner for a try. The conversion was good so against the run of play Stratford trailed 7-0.
Neither side had the upper hand as both teams kicked for territory and possession switched back and forth.
Eventually the ball went loose in the Stratford twenty-two and Moseley managed to grab possession and bustle their way across the line next to the posts for a second try.
The conversion was a formality, leaving Stratford 14-0 down, but the hosts managed to get a foothold in the game through a Jack Young penalty as the first half ended with them 17-3 behind.
Ten minutes into the second half Stratford were rewarded for their continued efforts when repeated attacks closed to the Moseley line forced infringements and the referee’s patience finally ran out.
Moseley were reduced to 14 players with a yellow card. Stratford took the scrum and Matt Newman, at scrum-half, darted from the back to sneak over the line for a try, although the conversion went wide.
The clock had turned red when Moseley conceded another penalty and with the last kick of the match fly-half Young secured another three to clinch a losing bonus point for Stratford, who dropped a place to fifth.
A stern challenge awaits Stratford on Saturday (2.15pm) when they host leaders Newport.