Stourbridge 22, Preston Grasshoppers 25

STOUR suffered a dreadful defeat to Preston.

They led 22-12 going into the final quarter with Preston down to 14 players - yet still let the game slip from their grasp.

The deafening silence from the home support which greeted the final whistle coupled with Preston's jubilation said it all.

Preston made a positive start by running the ball at Stour and soon reaped an early reward with two well struck penalties from full back Sean Taylor, who kicked everything that came his way throughout the afternoon.

Stour finally got their act together and responded with a try from loose head prop Stefan Thorp who peeled off from a five metre scrum to burrow his way over for a try but fly half Chris Scott missed the conversion.

Stour's recently promoted Lion Josh Trinham then got himself yellow carded when the winger was caught offside interfering with play and Taylor slotted over the resulting penalty on the half hour mark.

Scott then opened his account with a penalty that went over off the post after Preston were penalised for not releasing.

Referee Sara Cox then evened matters up by sending Preston second row Reece Tomlinson to the sin-bin on 36 minutes and Stour soon took advantage.

They won a scrum against the head and the ball was moved wide where scrum half Toby Handley scrambled over for a try to put Stour 13-9 in front at half time.

Scott stretched the advantage further with a penalty immediately after the break to make the score 16-9.

Taylor and Scott then swopped further penalties before a defining moment arrived in the 57th minute.

Referee Cox sent Preston prop Oga Mabaya to the sin-bin for persistent infringement and Scott landed the resulting penalty to put Stour 22-12 in front.

That appeared to be the signal for Stour to go and put the game to bed.

Instead the accurate Taylor kicked Preston back into contention with two successful penalty attempts.

His second successful shot followed a yellow card for Stour replacement James Rodley who'd only just entered the fray.

Preston seized the moment the press forward and the hosts were stunned when scrum half Harrison Moulding burst through several half hearted tackles to snap up a try by the posts which Taylor converted with just three minutes remaining.

There was still time for Stour to be thrown a life-line.

Belated pressure saw them awarded a penalty close to the Preston line.

Stour opted for the scrum with the game now gone beyond the 80 minute mark.

But incredibly Stour were then penalised for dropping the scrum and the game was lost.

Stourbridge: Bridger; Trinham, Heatley, Othuna, Sinkunas; Scott, Handley; Thorp, Harding , George; Roddy, Depper, Mukarati, Pennock, Nicholls. Replacements: Hurrell, Stuardy, Wilkes, Rodley, Nash.

Preston: Taylor; Jordan, Woof, Ward, Viney; Zavallis-Roebuck, Moulding; Mabaya, Wilkinson, Madden; Tomlinson, Murray; MacKenzie, Lees, Napier. replacements: Holmes, Burns, Walker, Feeney, Hurst.

Referee: Sara Cox Attendance 305