After a closely contested first half Stourbridge secured their seventh successive win with three lightening strikes at the start of the second. The league leaders ruthlessly exploited Huddersfield’s lapses in defensive concentration and produced three tries in fifteen minutes to secure their try scoring bonus point and maintain their 100% record.
The game had got off to an untidy start with both sides struggling to find early rhythm. Stourbridge missed a chance to take a lead on five minutes when they fluffed a simple penalty chance but eventually it was they who settled first. Ten minutes in they were starting to put their visitors defence to the test. Their first try came on 13 minutes after a scrum option at a penalty on the Huddersfield 22. It was picked up at No.8 and fed to scrum half Ben Tibbetts who found a gap to squeeze through. Full back Afeafe Haisila landed the conversion.
Although Huddersfield had struggled for possession in the first quarter against a very solid Stourbridge pack they dominated the second twenty minutes. Winger Brandon Conway ignited Huddersfield’s game with a searing run from inside his own half. Although he was brought down just short of the line ‘Field’ produced good ruck ball and second row Nick Sharpe was held up inches short from the subsequent drive. Play continued in the same corner and Huddersfield’s determined forwards were rewarded when Ben Morrill touched down after another powerful surge. Scum half Joel Hinchliffe landed the difficult conversion to level the scores. The half ended with Huddersfield firmly on the front foot and all looked set for a close finish.
Stourbridge were back in front two minutes into the second half when Huddersfield were penalised offside at a breakdown. They went over for their second try immediately after the restart. A massive return kick pegged Huddersfield back on their 5 metre line and although they took the line out ball well the kick out of defence was comfortably pouched on the ‘Stour’ left flank and clinically shipped right where winger Alex Hearle cruised in on the overlap. Huddersfield produced a determined response and were threatening a score of their own when Centre Tom Owen inadvertently offloaded to an opponent following an ungentlemanly call for the ball. From close to his own line full back Haisila broke down the left wing for try number three which he converted. Try four followed moments later, this time centre Joe Heatley finding room through an inside channel to score near the posts.
Stourbridge’s fifth and final try came on 61 minutes. When Huddersfield were penalised for offside ‘Stour’ chose to kick for the line. The lineout was crisp and clean and flanker Nigel Mukarati got the score behind a swiftly driven maul.
With the game now lost Huddersfield showed real spirit and determination and battled hard for consolation. However they met with stiff resistance from a home side intent on preserving their leading margin. Gaps in their defence were difficult to find but at the death ‘Field’s’ efforts bore fruit. Tries by Joel Hinchliffe and Brandon Conway restored some respectability to the final score and produced a more accurate reflection of the overall game.