Stroud warm-up for cup final with another victory
By russell vale
Stroud U14s finish league season with controlled win over Stow
It was the last home game of the season and the last chance for a run out before the County Cup final next weekend. Stow were the visitors and were short of players so borrowed various Stroud players throughout the game.
Forwards: Lucas, Orgy, Stoner, Darrion, Jedd, Laurie, Sauce, Mr T
Backs: Hilly, Will, Dave, Keyan, Josh, Finn, Alex
Subs: Callum, Flash, Nibbler, Euan, Haydn, Bernie – many of which played for Stow
Stow (assisted by Bernie, Nibbles, Callum and Haydn) kicked off and their #8 showed great strength and technique and kicked it out the back of the try area so back for a Stroud scrum on halfway that they duly won. They attacked right with Keyan but a strong tackle forced him out of play. Stow won the lineout and kicked the ball away in the blustery conditions. Alex fielded it and ran it back. Stroud won the ruck and this gave Dave the launch pad to attack left. Quick hands to Josh, and even quicker feet got into the Stow 22. As Josh got closed down he passed back inside to Dave who finished off the nice move with a try under the posts. Will's kick made it 7-0.
Stow kicked deep again and Will returned it well. Josh took it up the left wing but Stow forced him out of play. They won their lineout and again kicked the ball away. Another Alex run back was snuffed out so Darrion took the ball on. Stroud were penalised at the breakdown though and Stow kicked for touch. They won the lineout but the backs knocked on under pressure from Will. A typically strong Stroud scrum and clean hook from Orgy gave Hilly clean ball to work with. Quick hands to Dave set an attacking move to the left. Ball then onto Keyan who got closed down but through an intelligent insider pass to Jedd. Eventually Stow brought enough man power to drag Jedd down but this gave some gaps at the fringes that Darrion exploited well. Another ruck and a Sauce/Laurie/Stoner clearout masterclass. The backs shifted right and Will launched another attack. Keyan was the benefactor this time with a score in the right corner. Will's difficult kick into the wind bounced back off the post leaving the score at 12-0.
Another long Stow kickoff and a Alex/Keyan return combo. Yet again Jedd was in the right place to take the ball on into contact. Orgy and Sauce helped keep Stow at bay. Will received a crisp pass from Hilly and kicked into space for Josh to attack but the ball just bounced out of play. Stow won their lineout and kicked again. Same result – an Alex run back, then a pass onto Keyan, who then ran the rest of the pitch to score under the posts. An easy conversion gave Stroud a 19-0 lead.
Stow varied their kick off and went short and very high. Stoner caught it cleanly under pressure and set the ball back well. Hilly spotted Mr T going round the corner and good yardage was made as Sauce took the ball on further. Will went for an intelligent kick over the top which Stroud managed to recover but a forward pass was called. Ref Jo must have been under strict instruction from the RFU refs association to call this against his son at least 3x a game! Stow won the scrum but the half drew to a close with a subsequent knock-on from a powerful Stoner tackle.
Break 1: Stroud 19 - 0 Stow
Subs were taken and Alex, Josh, Lucas and Keyan swapped over to play for Stow.
Stroud kicked off and Stow quickly went on the attack. Euan put in a good tackle. A ruck formed as Dave and his opposite number were comparing the contents of their handbags – Dave’s Burberry was the winner. Stow quickly attacked and Stow-Alex shipped the ball onto Stow-Josh who attacked down the left. At just the right time Josh passed back to the looping Alex who scored under the posts – a typical Stroud backs move – but the benefactors were Stow! A good kick made it 19-7.
Stroud kicked off and Jedd put in a monster tackle. Stow won the ruck and Stow-Lucas went on a powerful rumble. He was eventually dragged down by Finn, who’s body shape was seen imprinted on the Fromehall turf as Lucas landed on him. Stroud knocked on at the ruck and Stow won the scrum restart. Their big #8 attacked the Stroud backs. Dave – never one to back down – put in a strong tackle with his jaw – but with a mouth that powerful it was enough to bring the player down! He stayed down injured but we knew he was OK as we could hear him checking with Delia what the aftermatch meal was so he could make sure his jaw was repaired enough to eat it.
Stroud won the restart and Hilly – now at winger – attacked up the left. He did well to hold onto the ball as he went into contact with the big Stow forwards – an area he was used to as often he would be fishing the ball out from rucks and mauls while under fire! Stroud were awarded a penalty and Will kicked for the corner. Jedd won the lineout and Flash zipped the ball out quickly to the backs. Laurie was the benefactor as he crashed over the line in typical forward style – while being an honorary member of the Stroud centers club – inspired sub Phil to move him out there and score with his first touch. Dave’s jaw was on the mend – he was heard to comment at 150 decibels that he would have run it under the posts as well…. It didn’t matter as reliable Will slotted the conversion for a 26-7 lead.
Stroud knocked on the kickoff and Stow had a scrum restart. Linesman and coach Mk II had disagreed with the decision and kicked the ball back at ref Jo – just missing his bonce. These officials just couldn’t get on. I wonder if their handbags would be compared after the game as well…..
Stow won the scrum and their big #8 attacked right and got close to the line. Brave tackling from Euan and Nibbles brought him down. Stow secured the ball and dived over the line for a well deserved try – the kick was missed and the score was now 26-12 to Stroud.
Stroud kicked off long and Stow had to restart with a drop 22 that they duly won. They kicked for touch to relieve the pressure. An accurate Orgy throw was taken cleanly by Jedd and setup an attack from Callum and Stoner. Stow managed to force a turnover though and kicked the ball away. Finn at full back caught it well and was soon brought down. Again Stow forced a turnover and quickly kicked again but Finn had shown great effort to get back and field the next kick cleanly. Will took on the attack and then Darrion but it came to nothing. Stow had a scrum and they went with Plan A again which was #8 attack. Flanker Sauce was a master at this and tackled him brilliantly into touch – just like his Dad – and again like his Dad he bounced up ready for the next contact with a cut eye and a bruised bonce as a souvenir.
Our lineout maestro Jedd caught the ball again and Will kicked the ball away. Stow-Alex had known what was coming so was ready with the run back. Stroud defended well though and forced a turnover from Mr T. Will saw the gap and kicked long but the ball just bounced out of play before Stroud could gather it. Stow-Lucas won the lineout and the ball quickly came out to Stow-Josh who attacked left. He was tackled by Nibbles and a ruck formed. Sauce was ready to steal the ball until Stow-Lucas flattened his best mate with the mother of all clearouts. These Stroud players were going at it hammer and tongs – it didn’t matter what colour shirt they wore they just wanted to play rugby at 110%.
Stow-Keyan saw what fun it was playing in the black and white hoops for Stow and joined the fray – him and Stow-Alex combined well down the right wing to threaten another Stow try. Darrion managed to win a turnover though and Nibbles attacked right. The ball came back inside to Finn who broke through a gap and just had the full back to beat – unfortunately it was Stow-Alex and he duly dumped his school friend and team-mate into the turf – back into the Finn-shaped crater that Lucas had helped create 10 minutes earlier.
The period finished with another Stow attack. Unable to penetrate Fortress Stroud the Stow backs kicked over the top. Stow-Josh lit the afterburners and chased onto the ball and hacked it on towards the try line. One more delicate kick was all it needed but he got a nasty bounce and the ball squirmed left and Finn who had finally dug himself out of the crater managed to touch it down first and save the try. The refs whistle went for end of period and the Stroud-Stow subs returned back to the blue team chat. Keyan was seen admiring the Stow badge as he took the shirt off and was heard after the game arranging for a tattoo to be done.
Lucas had played a fantastic half for Stow and their coaches were heard asking for what transfer fee to move him upto Stow permanently? 6 weetabix, 3 curries, 2 pizzas, and some healthy-option grapes – a day – was the transfer fee that was settled on – but the Stow parents couldn’t afford this investment for the next 30 years so Lucas was left to play for Stroud for the rest of his career.
Break 2: Stroud 26 - 12 Stow
The final period was another re-organise with injuries mounting and a game of 14-a-side to play out the last 10 minutes. Jedd, Finn, Haydn and Euan now wearing the black of Stow.
Stow kicked off and Will caught it well – another perfect crash ball pass was called back by ref Jo – with a wry smile on his face as he blew his whistle. Stow had a scrum restart that they won. Stroud were penalised so Stow kicked for the corner. Stow-Jedd won the lineout and Stow attacked quickly through the backs – but quicker than the lightning pass was the reactions of Captain Will as he intercepted the pass and sprinted out to halfway. Stow did well to tackle him but he just threw the ball inside. Stroud secured the loose ball and Darrion went Rhino on his own and broke through the Stow tackler and scored a try. The drop-goal conversion kick was missed as Stroud extended their lead to 31-12.
Stow kicked long and Laurie ran it back powerfully. Keyan then took on the attack. Ball out to Will and another perfect flat pass – but there goes the ref’s whistle for forward pass #3. RFU refs quota target achieved. Tick the box. Now promotion to be assistant linesman at the Glos-Cardiff Euro cup final in Bilbao. Will Jo show Glos rugby some love?
Stow lost their scrum to an expert Orgy hook. Will then kicked long for touch. Stow won the lineout and Stow-Finn attacked strongly. Stow-Haydn won the breakdown battle and his twin brother Stow-Euan took on the ball himself. Eventually Stroud organised their defence and stopped the threat. The last passage of play was nearly a Stow try in the left corner but a knock-on in contact brought the game to an end.
Full Time: Stroud 31 - 12 Stow
Team debrief was held and a few more lessons learnt taken from this game. Focus is now on the cup final next weekend and putting on the best show we can.
Delia was checking on the injuries and offering advice. Dave’s pongy muscle rub had started to wear off – but still was more palletable than his Dad’s Brut/Old-Spice combo that he (Dave, not Mark!) often borrowed before heading into school to impress the Y9 fillies. The catering crew had done a sterling job to dish up the best meal of the season – chicken curry. Dave’s jaw was definitely on the mend as he polished off 6 portions and led the thank you applause from the kids for a meal that wasn’t a vegetarian mince with pasta special that Tetbury had tried to feed him last weekend.
Special thanks to Andy and Dee for organising the catering staff this season and for all the parents that stepped up and helped contribute to the meals and kitchen duties.
See you all next weekend at Hartpury for season ending finale vs Clifton.