Stroud Finish the Season on a High
Another hat trick for Sam Hester
In this final match of the season against one of their oldest opponents Stroud played some excellent rugby interspersed with some unforced errors. There was a definite end or term feel about the game writes Sean Moore.
The first try came after an elusive run from Phil Fruin whose shrewd pass to Sam Leworthy enabled him to score under the posts. Hester converted, 0-7. The forwards were dominant in the scrum and Reagan Herbert at no. 8 showed up well in all aspects of the game. Prolific try scorer Sam Hester was soon in action slicing through the Cheltenham defence after a subtle inside pass from Sam Leworthy, 0-14. Moments later he was on the score sheet again when neat passing enabled him to take the ball on the burst and breech the defence, 0-21. Cheltenham began to ease their way into the game and gained two tries following Stroud defensive errors. Hester added a penalty goal just before the break, 12-24.
After the oranges Stroud were again on the attack and following a lineout Tom Flanagan made good ground before releasing Joe Hoyle to score, 12-29. Reagan Herbert then scored a fine individual try by breaking clear from the halfway line after dispossessing a Cheltenham player, 12-34. Herbert was again next to score when, from a lineout, Hoyle kicked over the forwards for Joe Ashenford to collect and he interchanged passes with Herbert who went over near the posts. Sykes converted, 12-41.
Cheltenham staged a revival and brought the score up to 24-41 but Stroud again put their foot on the pedal when Dan Gordon showed great awareness and speed to intercept a pass and canter forty metres to the posts. Sykes converted, 24-48. Following another solid scrum Rob Higgins went blind before setting Hoyle free and he scored yet another try after interchanging passes with Joe Ashenford, 24-53. Sam Hester increased his amazing tally of tries to register another hat trick, bringing the final score to 29-58.
After a hesitant start to the season Stroud found their feet and consistently put in exhilarating performances. Today Stroud once again showed their ability to play scintillating rugby but their play is based on well-drilled work by the forwards. The front row of Warner, Fruin and Allen are proving to be a formidable unit and Bashford remains peerless in the lineout. As a local author once might have said, the prospects for next season are Rosie, but the players would probably prefer cider.