Stourbridge 27 Hull Ionians 15

First published in Stourbridge RFC

A SCINTILLATING first half display saw Stourbridge blast away title rivals Hull Ionians.

Pete White scored the first try after just 31 seconds to set the hosts on their way.

Further scores from Jamie Hearn, Gary Dipple and a Will Hurrell double saw Stour make a mockery of the atrocious conditions.

Hull rallied after half-time and pulled two tries back but the damage had already been done.

The win, Stour’s 13th of the campaign, extended their perfect start to the season and set a new club record in the process.

More importantly, it has given them breathing room at the top of National League Two North and a 14th victory against Preston Grasshoppers in a fortnight’s time would now give them an iron grip on the division.

Hull’s stubborn second half display, where they notched the only points of the period, showed why they went into this game second in the table.

But by then they had already been left with a mountain to climb.

With rain of various densities falling throughout the 80 minutes meaning both sides only converted a try each, pre-game logic suggested a tight, physical encounter with plenty of kicking.

Neil Mitchell’s men clearly don’t think much of logic, as they produced a great showcase of running rugby, scoring five excellent tries and securing the bonus point just past the half-hour mark.

White’s stunning opening score owed much to Sam Baker, who raced down the wing before offloading to his grateful team-mate.

Hull are not second in the league for no reason and they looked to hit back immediately. Stour were forced to show off their goal-line defence and eventually Caolan Ryan went too far, killing the ball and receiving a yellow card with the returning Chris Reakes slotting home the penalty.

But the visitors were unable to take advantage of the extra man and instead it was Stour who dominated, Hurrell’s first try coming after a series of rolling mauls which eventually wore the Hull defence down.

Jamie Hearn was the next to go over, scoring in the corner after excellent work from James Rodley who waited for the winger to catch him up before timing the pass to perfection.

As the gloom increased, so did the quality of the tries, with Gary Dipple selling a dummy to the final tackler as he went through to secure the bonus point just past the half-hour.

Hurrell then claimed his second, pouncing on a missed catch from Ryan’s up and under before racing half the length of the pitch to score.

To their credit, Hull kept coming forward and gave the travelling support something to cheer about in the dying seconds of the half through Adam Thomas’ try.

With the weather worsening, the first quarter of the second half was typified by dropped balls and the physical grind which had been expected all along.

Hull lost Rob Kench early on but his replacement Ally Furth seemed to make them stronger and they pulled another try back, giving Stour a taste of their own medicine in the process when Jon Sanders touched down just past the hour mark following a driving maul.

Another score for the visitors would have made things very interesting but Stour defended solidly when required to see out the win.

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