Close Encounter at Frome Hall Park
Stroud came close to victory in an absorbing match at Frome Hall Park
Stroud’s attack and counterattack went well but some crucial lapses in covering and tackling allowed Old Richians to score two or three ‘soft’ tries. They fully deserved the result and ex-Gloucester legend Terry Fanalua was pivotal in their efforts, calmly directing the game from no.10 with his distribution and kicking.
Two early penalties from Sam Hester gave Stroud the lead before Old Richians went over in the corner, 6-5. Newcomer for Stroud Carl Ranscombe finished off an intricate attacking move for a try in the corner. From the kick-off Josh Stratton made a good take and this led to several attacking phases with Sam Leworthy being especially prominent with his powerful running. This resulted in Dan Gordon going over in the corner. Hester converted with a pinpoint kick, 18-5.
Old Richians took up the challenge and good defence from Stroud stifled several attacks, with one fine tackle from Pete Sykes saving a certain try. Leworthy continued to have a fine game, time and again breaking the Old Richians’ line and proving difficult to bring down. Stroud conceded a soft try when the opposition prop ran round the front of the lineout to score unopposed, 18-10. Skipper Joe Hoyle then made a clever interception and seemed certain to score before being brought down by a high tackle, injuring his shoulder. Sykes took over the no.9 duties and did well. Just before half time Old Richians scored a clever try after a neat move saw their winger go clean through under the posts, 18-17.
After the interval Old Richians upped their game and two tries took them into the lead, 18-29. Stroud were making heavy weather of the game at this stage and soon conceded another try to make the score 18-36.
To their credit Stroud regrouped and a strong run by Ranscombe saw him make a fast curving outside break to score in the corner. Hester converted to bring the score to 25-36. Stroud kept up the momentum and attacked with vigour. Some fine interpassing led to winger Jack Young scoring near the posts. Hester converted 32-36.
In the final few minutes Stroud gave it their all but were unable to score again. Stroud gained two bonus points and can reflect on the many positives from this game.