Impressive Team Effort Against Somerset Side
One minute’s silence in respect of club stalwart Pete Bateman
The match was preceded by one minute’s silence in respect of club stalwart, Pete Bateman, who as a player, supporter and sponsor was involved with the club over many decades. He would have relished an outstanding display of attacking rugby by a Stroud side who were clearly stung by last week’s defeat. They showed great team cohesion with the basics being done very well: the error count was low, few tackles were missed and the offloading was a delight to watch writes Sean Moore.
Following a long run by the invigorated Dan Gordon, winger Jack Young nearly scored in the corner. The returning Phil Middlemiss showed up well with his long carries and happily both shoulders seemed intact at the end of a very physical but fair contest. Stroud were quickly on the scoreboard when, following good driving play by the pack, Dan Gordon came into the line at pace and was able to drive past the defender to score near the posts. Pete Sykes converted, 7-0. The next try showed whole team involvement. The forwards made good ground in their own half and released ball to the threes. Pete Sykes surged past three defenders and, just before being bundled into touch, passed back inside to the supporting Joe Hoyle who showed the defence a clean pair of heels to score under the posts. Pete Sykes converted, 14-0.
Stroud were brought back to reality when the doughty Winscombe side scored two tries following some fragile Stroud tackling. Stroud realised that they would have to reignite their afterburners and the forwards redoubled their efforts to win good ball which saw Jake Marsh take on the defence with an elusive run. He was able to set Gordon free who duly scored near the posts for a try which Sykes converted, 21-12.
Phil Fruin did a great covering tackle to save a certain try. Further attacks saw Luke Peer show up well and he finished a flowing move with a try in the corner, 26-12. Jack Young added another shortly afterwards. He is becoming a real force on the wing where he is able to match his speed with mazy running and a strong physical presence, 31-12. The strong driving play by Tom Warner and Josh Stratton began to take its toll on weary Winscombe tacklers and this led to two more tries. Joe Hoyle made a snappy break from the base of the ruck and he released Pete Sykes who had the pace to run forty metres to the line, 36-12. The final try followed a long, loping run from the impressive Middlemiss who showed deceptive pace to take him near the line and he generously passed inside to the supporting Jake Marsh who scored near the posts. Sykes converted, 43-12.
After the match the Stroud players, resplendent in their Christmas jumpers, seemed very buoyant and are looking forward to the rest of the season.