Stroud Reap the Rewards of Hard Training
By joshua stratton
This was another nerve jangling victory for Stroud. The final few minutes were very tense
This was another nerve jangling victory for Stroud. The final few minutes were very tense as Saracens attempted to gain a draw using their well oiled and fluent back division who attacked with precision and pace. Stroud however had the upper hand in the forwards and were able to keep control of the ball.
The game was played in a very free-flowing manner with both sides committed to open rugby and few kicking options were taken. This put a lot of stress on fitness levels, patience and precision and Stroud were up to this task. A large crowd, swelled by a sizeable Saracens contingent, were hugely entertained by a game played in the best of spirits. Early on last-ditch tap tackling was the order of the day with Phil Middlemiss and Dan Gordon shining in this respect and they saved two certain tries. The strong running of centres Harry Foote and Kurtis Herbert was evident and Carl Ranscombe from full back showed a wide variety of counter-attacking skills.
Early on, penalty goals were exchanged and Kurtis Herbert scored twice to leave the score at 6-3. The first try came when the forwards gained good ball allowing Gordon space to break blind. Well-timed and judicious passing enabled Ranscombe to go through a gap and touch down. Herbert converted, 13-3. After Saracens added a penalty an increasingly dominant Stroud pack went through many phases of pick and drive before prop Dan Smith plunged over for a well-deserved try in the corner, 18-6. Saracens fought back and their forwards scored a remarkable try when they drove over forty metres to gain the touchdown, 18-11. Stroud’s forwards were however making regular dents in the Saracens defence through their strong impact players. Phil Fruin was very conspicuous in his efforts in this respect. Further good ball in the Saracens 22 saw Gordon break down the side of the ruck and his inside offload was deftly picked up by hooker Matt Hunt who cruised over for a try by the posts. Herbert converted, 25-11.
Stroud’s fourth try, which gained a bonus point, came after the Stroud backs displayed slick passing before releasing Ranscombe who came up at speed to take a final well-weighted pass from Pete Sykes before touching down in the corner, 30-11.
Stroud relaxed a little bit and Saracens valiantly counter-attacked taking the score to 30-23. Groundhog day was looming before the forwards sensibly hung onto the ball to ensure the narrow victory.
Overall, this was an important win by the Stroud side who showed composure and patience to build up many attacking options. Their defence was excellent as usual and the coaches are justifiably pleased as they clearly have done a good job.