This was a very entertaining, high-scoring match with Barton Hill showing more resolve in the loose writes Sean Moore. Stroud began well, playing with the breeze and slope in their favour. The returning Ben Stevens secured good lineout ball whilst the Stroud scrum held the upper hand in set pieces and went through phases skillfully.
The first try followed a powerful scrum which enabled Joe Ashenford to go blind. He set up Pete Sykes who surged down the touchline. When his progress was blocked he passed back inside to the supporting Ashenford who outstripped the cover to run in from thirty metres. Herbert converted, 0-7.
Stroud continued to pressure and this led to a penalty which Sam Hester kicked skillfully to the corner. A well-organized catch and drive followed enabling Rob Higgins to score near the flag. Kurtis Herbert was again successful with the kick and also landed a penalty shortly afterwards, 0-17. Barton went on to score a converted try, 7-17. Stroud’s rushed defence led to a charge down on the halfway line. Herbert neatly picked up and passed inside to Sam Leworthy who made good ground before returning the ball to Herbert who ran hard to score in the corner. He also converted, 7-24.
Barton Hill began to get the upper hand in the loose through their hard-running forwards and took advantage of some slack tackling which led to the score at half time being 17-24. The critical point came when a Stroud attack was halted and the home side’s speedy winger ran the length of the field to score, breaking several tackles en route. Barton Hill now had their tails up and they tore into the Stroud defence scoring freely to take a good lead of 38-24.
Ashenford made a good run and almost scored. Hester was next to cross the line when, following a good shunt from the pack, space was created down the blindside enabling him to glide over to score and Herbert converted, 38-31. Stroud sensed a chance of victory but were limited to only one further score from Herbert but Barton Hill scored freely to run out convincing winners, 52-36.
This was a somewhat disappointing result but Stroud would admit that Barton Hill had more standing on the result and whilst Stroud matched them in most departments, Barton Hill’s powerful forward surges and ability to break tackles proved critical.
Next Saturday sees the rearranged match against Chosen Hill take place at Fromehall, 3pm kick-off.