Stockport 5 Stourbridge 45

First published in Stourbridge RFC

STOURBRIDGE blasted through the 100 try mark for the season as they dismantled Stockport.

The hosts enjoyed near parity in territory and possession but were unable to match the Saxons' physicality and clinical finishing.

Stour retained their 19 league point cushion over their nearest challengers, having extended their unprecedented run to 18 bonus point victories.

Centre Ben Barkley opened the scoring in just the fifth minute, barging over after taking a return pass from winger Nathan Bressington.

Stockport pressed the attack into the Saxons half for a prolonged period but a Robbie Hurrell lineout steal ended with second row Rich Stott putting centre Gary Dipple into space for the second try.

Ten minutes later Nigel Mukarati was the scorer of the third try, Stour’s 100th of the campaign, after another Hurrell lineout take.

Leading 19-0 at the break, Stour took advantage of the slope early in the second half when skipper Ben Hughes collected a pass from Barkley to score and secure the bonus point.

Replacement scrum half Lucas Roy-Smith then bagged his first try of the season, stealing Stockport's scrum ball and taking a return pass from fly half Sione Tu'ipolotu, who was tackled just short of the line.

Stockport's endeavour was finally rewarded when their winger punished an unusually poor Saxons' kick chase to grab a consolation.

But Stour finished stronger and returning full-back Tom Jarvis, back after two months out injured, twice set up Bressington for tries in the closing stages.

Speaking afterward, coach Mike Umaga said: “Looking at the league table you have to say that Stockport's lowly position is no reflection of their skill and performance levels.

“They played a positive game of rugby that gave our defence a thorough workout.”

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