Stourbridge 19-10 Preston Grasshoppers
Preston Grasshoppers remain in the National League 2 North relegation places after a damaging defeat at Stourbridge.
It was a similar feeling at full-time: a game that Hoppers could have won had they taken their chances.
Head coach Garth Dew reflected: “I was proud of the effort today, for large periods of the game we were the better team, but once again the first 10 minutes really hurt us.
“Our set piece was not strong today and we squandered a lot of good opportunities. We played with more intensity in the second-half and scored two nice tries so I’m gutted we couldn’t come away with something.
“I can’t fault the lads’ effort but we have to be more clinical.”
Stour had their first try just three minutes into the contest, Chris Easton finishing off a simple handling move to touch down out wide after some poor Hoppers tackling. Chris Scott failed to add the extras.
The hosts had their second score seven minutes later when skipper Ciaran Moore collected the ball from a line-out drive and ran straight through the Hoppers’ defence, with Scott converting.
Hoppers started to play some decent rugby, gaining good field positions thanks to the clever kicking of Lewis Allen and Jack Harrison.
They should have opened their account when Will Lees broke the gainline with only Stour’s fullback to beat.
A simple pass would have put Tom Forster in, but the centre dropped the ball and the chance was gone.
Allen then missed a long-range penalty which summed up Hoppers’ first-half performance.
Moore had his second, and Stour’s third score, when he dotted down from a pick and go after 33 minutes. Scott’s kick meant the hosts went into the break 19-0 ahead.
The second-half was a different story. This time it was Hoppers who scored early, after Tom Hurst broke the line and fed Cam Robinson, who duly touched down for his first Hoppers try.
Hoppers were back in the contest and built up several phases which resulted in a score for Ally Murray, capitalising on a rare Stour error their scrum, but Allen’s conversion drifted wide.
The visitors huffed and puffed in the third-quarter but couldn’t breach Stour’s resolute defence and ultimately came away with no crucial league points.
Stour: Petty; Easton, Tilsley, Otutaha, Trinham; Scott, Heatley; Harrison, Lea, Thorp, Depper, Murphy, Mukarati, Munro, Moore.
Replacements: Harding, Carpenter, Thorne, White, Tibbetts.
Hoppers: Allen; Robinson, Forster, Woof, Hurst; Hunt, Harrsion; Mabaya, Mills, Altham, Garrod, Roddy, Bramhall, Lees, Proctor.
Replacements: Taylor, Peterson, Murray, Frings, Moulding.
Photo of courtesy of Ian Garrod