Stroud Taken by Storm
Errors cost us
Deluge conditions were the background for a one sided game at Fromehall Park. Torrential rain made handling a tricky task and Chosen Hill were much more adept in this area. Too often ill judged passes led to errors on the Stroud side whereas Chosen Hill were much more sympathetic in their passing writes Sean Moore.
Stroud forwards held their own in all aspects – the scrum was very solid as was the lineout where James Bashford secured valuable ball. In the loose flankers Mark Phillips and Tom Flanagan were quick to the breakdown and secured possession. The driving maul was executed well with many metres being made in this area. Tom Warner enjoyed the fray and he and Phil Fruin made numerous charges up front.
Scrum half Joe Doyle provided an excellent link reading play well and was often in support of counter attacks. Further out Chosen Hill were much more clinical and their wily no.10 called the tune, varying play astutely with a mixture of raking kicks and chips over the top. Where appropriate he released his dangerous backs and their powerful centre was able to gain much ground with his strong and elusive running which brought him two tries. The fly half himself scored a peach of a try at the death, selling a neat dummy and gliding over under the posts. Chosen Hill’s formidable back row no.8 proved difficult to handle, taking out many defenders before being brought to ground.
Stroud’s threes, although having a reasonable portion of the ball, were not able to make the same impact. This was not due to lack of effort or commitment. Sporadically attacks were mounted, often from broken play, and full back Jake Marsh had an excellent game defensively and proved elusive on the counter attack. His last minute try was a just reward. This came after prolonged pressure saw the ball go through several phases before Marsh saw a gap and went over despite the attention of two defenders. Stroud’s other points came from a penalty goal from Pete Sykes who secured an early lead in a few moments of sunlight before the storm. Stroud’s cause was not helped by injuries to Phil Middlemiss and Cory Baker.
Stroud will not come across many better opponents this year and should take heart from their commitment, fitness and well-organized forward display.