Bridgnorth 32 Stoke 21
Match Photos by Ian Horsman (Triple Effect) - CLICK HERE!
Match Photos by Dave Cooper - CLICK HERE!
Bridgnorth chalked up their 18th win of the season and from the kick off kept the visitors penned in their own 22 for several minutes. Bridgnorth broke the golden rule to "Take the points" with a simple penalty chance from in front, to go for the extra point, but this time it paid off, and after some huffing and puffing Gareth Bladen eventually crossed. The in form Will Biddell added the conversion and two further penalties to put the All-blacks clear 13-0.
Bridgnorth with a reshuffled pack struggled against their opposition and two front row offences brought six points for the visitors making the half time score 13-6
Both sides played running rugby with Will Crossley, Simon Fletcher,Richard Hooper and Darren Brick gaining ground but the Stoke forwards drove the Bridgnorth pack back for their stand off to drop a goal for a score of 13-9.
Stoke had some skilled players testing the Bridgnorth defences, but against the run of play Sam Alvey found himself with space on the left wing, using his considerable speed to score in the corner. Nick Davies also back in the fold, powered over for Will Biddell to convert. Will Biddell added to his impressive points tally with a goal all on his own, to bring the score 32-9.
Stoke didn't give up however and although Mike Preece joined the Bridnorth defence some indifferent tackling got Stoke to within 10 metres of the Bridgnorth line. They ignored a simple penalty chance opting for the set scrum and as Bridgnorth collapsed were awarded a penalty try. To make matters worse Darren Brick received the now customary late yellow card and Stoke were back in the game. Talented runners tested Bridgnorth and only a last ditch tackle from Ben Rochelle saved a certain try.
In the dying minutes Stoke did score an unconverted try for a final score 32-21.
Bridgnorth reinforced their lead at the top of the league. 9 points clear of Bournville in second place and with a game in hand
For his personal contribution to the score The Black Horse Man of the Match was Will Biddell.
The players observed a minutes silence as a tribute to stalwart Robin Worton who tragically died after a long illness.
Robin and his family all contributed greatly to the Clubs success over the early years and his humour and enthusiasm will be missed by his many friends in both Rugby and Golf circles.
Next week Bridgnorth's greatest challenge for years, is old rivals Newport in the semi final of the North Midlands Cup at the EDG.. It is to be hoped Bridgnorth will be at full strength to add to their bulging Trophys cabinet and their fantastic achievments in the last couple of years. Newport's website claim to be "Definitely the best Rugby Club in Shropshire" may be put to the test!