Stourbridge 29, Caldy 30

STOURBRIDGE suffered their third successive defeat as they fell short against Caldy at Stourton Park today.

Despite a spirited fightback towards the end of the contest, injury-hit Stour couldn't do enough to earn a much-needed win.

Caldy's strength in the scrum and the assured boot of John Broxson kept the hosts a bay for long periods.

Sourbridge welcomed Joseph Murphy, Frederick Brookes and Luke Cullen into the match-day squad as they looked to deal with the current fitness crisis that has claimed nearly half director of rugby Neil Mitchell's first team.

However, the game couldn't have started much better for Stour as James Hearn got the scoreboard immediately ticking over when he landed a penalty in the very first minute after the visitors were penalised for offside soon after kick-off.

But it was Caldy that would have the better of the first half.

Broxson kicked his side level after nine minutes following a Stour ruck infringement.

Caldy then moved into a 10-3 lead on 26 minutes when Nyle Davidson broke through the home defence before Broxton added the extras.

The visitors then asserted their dominance just seven minutes later when Jack Lavin went over after more sustained pressure.

Once again, Broxton kicked the conversion to take the scores to 17-3.

With Stour's task looking increasingly difficult they finally claimed their first try of the afternoon in the 38th minute.

The direct and powerful running of Drew Harper caused problem for Caldy before Chris Depper collected and was pushed over by the arriving support. Hearn converted to bring the scores closer at 17-10.

However, with the half coming to an end, Stour gave away a needless penalty not far into their own half that Broxson kicked to leave Caldy leading 27-10 at the break.

The game looked almost up when a period of Caldy pressure and dominance in the scrum just shy of the Stour line resulted in Nicholas Royle going over on 49 minutes when the ball was quickly moved left.

Broxson converted to extend the Caldy lead to 27-10.

It was that score though that seemed to awaken the home side as they realised they needed to find an answer before it was too late.

Stour were straight away on the front foot and then right back in the game thanks to two quick-fire tries.

First, Sione Tuipulotu charged over following a quickly-taken free kick on 56 minutes, which Hearn converted, before Jack Lea broke through just two minutes later.

The score had quickly moved to 27-22 to the visitors but with Stour pushing hard to claw back the reduced advantage.

A Broxson penalty on 63 minutes kept the home side at bay before a final Stour push as the final whistle approached.

A catch and drive from lineout ball resulted in Tatenda Mukarati being forced over to bring the scores to within a point at 30-29.

But it all proved in vain as Stour fell short after giving themselves too much to do.

The third successive defeat for Mitchell's men is another blow to their promotion aspirations. They will look to get their season back on track when they travel to Hull next Saturday.

Stourbridge: Murphy, Hearn, Shillingford, Barkley, Cooksammy, Higgins, Tuipulotu, Sturdy, Lea, Garner, Hughes, Hurrell, Mukarati, Depper, Harper.

Bench: Bown, Brookes, Lawrenson, Moore, Cullen.

Caldy: Soutar, Royle, Roberts, Lavin, Eaves, Broxson, Jones, Campbell, Dowridge, Salisbury, McGowan, Manley, Cross, Davidson, Smithson.

Bench: Jones, Lowes, Dowler, Devaney, Sanders.

Att: 364.