Stone RUFC had to come from behind in a bruising physical encounter against Telford Hornets in a 20-5 win at Enson Lane.
On a grey and dismal day Stone began the game brightly and spent much of the first 20 minutes of the half camped inside the Telford 22 metre. Despite strong running from a number of the Stone forwards they were unable to capitalise as Telford broke up repeated attacks. Phil Collins, after a number of weeks off with a rib injury would aggravate the injury in this period and be forced to come off, again looking like he may have a prolonged lay off.
Telford would go on to score the first points of the game after a strong driving maul from the visitors put them just outside the Stone 22m. A smart chip over from the Telford 10m wasn’t dealt with well by the Stone back 3 and Telford would put themselves in front.
Stone would look to recapture their early game momentum and would get into the Telford 22 metre, eventually gaining a penalty which was converted by Luc Podmore to make the game 5-3 heading towards the half. During this period there was a further blow to Stone as they lost Chris Carpenter, which saw Stone go down to 14 men for the rest of the game. Telford would miss two penalties as the first half came to a close.
The second half began with the visitors putting Stone under sustained pressure as Telford spent a good 10 minutes of the half camped in the Stone 22m. However, a strong level of tactical awareness and strong defensive work ethic would see Stone defend their line and eventually break to counter attack down the field. Even with a man less Stone proved to be a handful when attacking, with forwards and backs combining perfectly to ship the ball across the field and stretch the Telford defence. Stone would finally get their first try of the day after smart footwork from Conor Norton would see the No. 10 find space and run in a fine try to make it 10-5 to Stone.
Stone would once again attack from the resulting kick-off playing the expansive rugby that the club has been looking to develop this year. With Stone reaching the Telford 22m a penalty was awarded for ruck offences, Luc Podmore added his second penalty of the day to make it 13-5 to Stone.
Again, from the kick off the Enson Lane boys would play good, high intensity rugby which saw the team move up the pitch and retain possession in the closing minutes. An almost identical break from Conor Norton would see him break to score his and Stone’s second try. The conversion was again dispatched by Luc Podmore to bring the game to 20-5.
Despite a spirted effort by Telford in the last few minutes the home team were able to keep the visitors from scoring and took a well-deserved 20-5 win. The win was made all the more special by the work that the 14 men that played 55 minutes of the game put in.
Stone’s next game is a tough away trip to Leek 3XV on Saturday 28th November with a 3pm KO
Final Score – Stone RUFC 20 Telford Hornets 5