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Mitch: It’s crunch time in campaign
11:00am Saturday 10th November 2012 in Sports View
TOP-of-the-table Stourbridge will put their 100 per cent record on the line with a season defining spell against their closest rivals, starting with third-placed Darlington Mowden Park at Stourton Park on Saturday.
That will be followed by a trip to fourth in the table Sheffield Tigers before fellow unbeaten side Hull Ionians visit Stourbridge on Saturday November 24.
The trio of top-of-the-table games will almost certainly decide Saxons’ campaign in National League Division Two North.
Neil Mitchell’s men were given a taste of what to expect following their 31-12 success at uncompromising Leicester Lions last week.
Director of rugby Mitchell said: “There were some interesting off the ball incidents and spoiling tactics applied by Leicester.
“Some of my players debated them with the referee and got penalised for it as a result.
“We rose to the bait and players have to realise the ref isn’t going to change his decision.”
Despite conceding a string of penalties, the Saxons kept their try-line intact, while running in five tries of their own.
After going 3-0 down for only the second time this season, Saxons responded with a try from Tom Jarvis after Nigel Mukarati had made the initial break.
The Saxons’ frustration was clear when the referee ruled against them at an attacking scrum.
However, that decision signalled the move of the match, as Saxons ran the ball back with a wonderful passing display before Robbie Hurrell crashed over in the corner and Jamie Hearn converted.
Super Saxons scored again straight from the restart, Sione Tu’ipolotu’s drive setting up Jarvis for his second try which Hearn converted to put Saxons 19-3 in front at half time.
Lions landed a couple of early second-half penalties, while Saxons had Will Hurrell following Ben Barkley into the sin-bin.
That didn’t stop Drew Harper creating something out of nothing for a fourth try before James Rodley collected some crash ball to make it five.
Lions were unable to penetrate a dogged Saxons defence and had to settle for a fourth penalty instead.
Mitchell added: “It was a good performance marred by some of the player’s frustrations.
“However, the tempo of the game, especially in the first half, was of such a pace that it would have rated at the top end of the Championship.”
Mitchell also hinted at rotating the squad against Darlington with promising Stourbridge youngster Chris Depper and Oldswinford School’s Will Harris both likely to feature.