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Rugby: Stourbridge are on a roll with six from six

By Nick Elwell | Grassroots | Published:

Stourbridge director of rugby Neil Mitchell ‘could not be happier’ after their perfect run so far in National 2 North.

They are top of the table after picking up a flawless 30 points from their opening six games, their latest result being a 40-11 win at Blaydon on Saturday.

Mitchell was impressed with his side’s resilience as they pulled away in the second half at the Gateshead-based club.

They have also been victorious at Wharfedale, in Harrogate, Yorkshire side Otley and Sheffield this term.

“It’s four away wins now and we’ve had some very long journeys,” said Mitchell.

“We have got 24 tries from those games, six in each, and I could not be happier really with how it has gone so far.

“It is early days but we are in a good place at the moment.

“We are pragmatic though in our approach – we will take each game at a time and not look too far ahead.”

After an even start, it was the hosts who notched up the first score as John Whyman slotted over following a Stour infringement for a 3-0 lead after just 18 minutes.

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Stour’s Joe Heatley soon scored his seventh try of the season after an interception on the halfway line and Chris Scott added the extras.

Blaydon hit back with a try of their own, which they failed to convert, on the half-hour mark.

But shortly before half-time, the visitors were awarded a penalty try to lead 14-8 at the break.

The home side made a strong start to the second period, with a three-point penalty by Ryan Foreman.

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But Stour soon cancelled that out and pulled clear.

Dan Rundle chalked up a valuable try, with Afeafe Haisila converting.

Replacement back Nick David was the next to go over, Haisila on the mark again, and Sam Wilkes was the next to add his name to the scoresheet, unconverted.

Haisila made up for that miss as he raced through for a try, and made the conversion to seal another big victory.

Next up are Huddersfield at home on Saturday, and Mitchell added: “They are a good side and we have got some tough games coming up over the next few weeks.

“We have played some good sides so far but we have probably had an easier run than some of the other teams.

“There’s some really good sides in this league, some big challenges coming up which will gives us a bigger bearing of where we will end up.”

Meanwhile, Old Halesonians have been knocked out of the North Midlands Cup after losing 59-12 to Bournville in the quarter finals.

In the Midland Junior Vase, Wednesbury edged past Pershore 22-17.

Manager Neil Haines felt the result displayed the club’s strength in depth and said: “It was a deserved victory in the end.

“We have had a good start to the season and we put out a bit of an experimental side for this game – around four or five lads from the seconds we gave a chance.

“To be honest, it wasn’t really a game we were expecting to win but the lads did really well.

“Pershore are a good side and it was a hard-fought encounter and we just scraped through, so it was pleasing.”

They will return to league action, in Midlands 4 West North, this weekend as they host Essington.

Wednesbury are currently top of the table after two wins and a loss from their first three games.

Rugeley, Bloxwich and Eccleshall are also in the division.

Haines added: “We have gone out and recruited heavily. We are not getting carried away at this early stage of the season, but we are doing OK and we are happy with how things have gone so far.”

There is a full round of fixtures in the Midlands Divisions on Saturday.

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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