1st XV - Report
Date: Saturday 28th April 2012 - Kick Off: 15:00
Stoke win all 22 league games of the season - first time in the club's history
Midland Division - Midlands 2 West (North)
|Aston Old Edwardians||6||vs||61||Stoke on Trent|
Saturday 28th April 2012
Aston Old Edwardians 6 Stoke 61
Midlands 2 West (North)
Aston went into their final league match of the season against unbeaten champions Stoke with 11 of their regular 1st team players missing through either injury or unavailability. Whilst well beaten by a well drilled Stoke side, Aston, as they did in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, came out of the game with more positives than negatives.
Having already experienced selection problems, Aston suffered further disruption on the morning of the match, with 2 players becoming unavailable. Brian Davies, next seasons Coach, was called into action and Conah Davies and Adam Baldock, despite carrying injuries, came into the team and onto the bench respectively, with Coach Allan Mitchell having to make some positional switches to accommodate the late changes in personnel. Michael Watts also came onto the bench after his cricket match was cancelled.
Despite the disruption, Aston started the game in good form, and after 5 minutes of continuous possession were awarded a penalty. Unfortunately the kick narrowly missed the target, and Stoke struck back scoring 5 tries in 20 minutes to lead 29-0. Aston’s forwards were a match for the visitors, but the Stoke backs gave a Masterclass in how to use possession. Running hard and straight they took every opportunity that came their way with slick passing, fine running angles and excellent support play.
Aston, as they were to do all game, maintained their composure and team spirit and took the game to Stoke for the remainder of the half. A Brad Meeson penalty was well converted from 30 yards out, and another kick was dragged wide as Aston’s forwards scrapped for the ball, and put the Staffordshire side under pressure, forcing them to concede penalties.
The second period saw 2 quick tries for the free running Stoke backs, to stretch the lead to 39-3 before Meeson hit his second successful penalty on 50 minutes. Aston’s forwards again drove the home side upfield into attacking territory, but after forcing a 5 yard line out, Aston were penalised and Stoke were able to clear their lines.
Stoke changed their tactics midway through the second half, relying on their well organised catch and drive from line-outs to trundle over for 3 tries, before the backs delivered the final flourish with a long range try, again demonstrating their superb handling skills. The victory gave Stoke a 100% record for the league campaign with 22 wins.
Despite the scoreline, Aston can take heart from the team spirit and determination that was shown throughout, captained superbly by Martin Franklin whose constant encouragement kept heads up. Several players on the fringe of the first team making strong cases for their inclusion on a more regular basis – with Dan Lastun and John Gadd in the 2nd row particularly impressive, and Chris Cheney at scrumhalf continuing his fine run of form.