Defeat on the road.
Our own bard, Nick Brown writes this report from the Stratford.
STRATFORD UPON AVON 22 – 15 WITNEY
At last a mild Saturday and a Stand to sit in to watch rugby, and no rain, but it was threatening. Witney were at an ‘improving’ Stratford to try to regain their winning form. A slight kick assisting wind was blowing straight down the pitch.
Witney kicked off against the wind and a Stratford forward knocked on and a team mate, in front, caught it giving Witney a Penalty which Full Back Arrun Lambourne converted. 0 – 3
(4 mins) Witney tackled a jumping catcher before he hit the ground. Stratford spun the ball right from the Penalty lineout, on Witney’s 22. A couple of rucks and the ball moved left to big centre James Wootton who ran through easily to score. Flanker Michael Dawes converting. 7 – 3
For the next 10 minutes, Stratford kept Witney, in their half, under pressure, through high kicks and giving the ball plenty of air with good passing and running by their Backs.
(15 mins) From their scrum, on ½ way, Stratford moved the ball right to Wootton who ran, untouched, to score his 2nd Try. Dawes converting. 14 – 3
(17 mins) Witney up to Stratford 22. Missed a Penalty.
(20 mins) Witney Penalty lineout 12m out. Stratford offended and Witney chose a scrum and pushed Stratford back at a rate of knots but were not able to score.
(25 mins) Witney again close to Try Line. Stratford off side and after several collapses by Stratford, Witney awarded Penalty Try. 14 – 10
(28 mins)Witney gifted Stratford with a Penalty goal immediately after Dawes had missed a Penalty Goal, by going off side, nearer to the posts. 17 – 10
( 33 mins) Stratford in Witney’s 22 moving the ball but unable to score.
(35 mins) On ½ Way Stratford moved the ball right to their Right Wing Callum Cook where he and his brother Full Back Jo Cook took the ball down the field, Callum scoring in the corner. 22 – 10
(40 mins) Witney Penalty Lineout, 12m out. Scramble for ball at Try Line but Stratford cleared danger. Half Time
Definitely Stratford’s Half, their backs had moved the ball well, spreading out Witney’s Defence. Also their forwards, in the loose, had looked more ‘up for the game’. The Witney tight scrums were causing Stratford’s big problems, but Witney needed more than dominance there.
Dan Wakeman on for Prop Al Richens.
A fine drizzle had begun.
Witney scrum wins two against the head but cannot penetrate Stratford’s defence.
(9 mins)Centre Carl Strutt subbed by Callum Godfrey ( welcome back). Witney maul from a Penalty Lineout on the 5m and Prop Jamie Burke touches down. 22 – 15
(16 mins) Witney Penalty kick for Corner kicked dead. Witney knock on re start. Flanker Carl Campbell subbed by Rob Coe.
Handling had become very difficult, making both sides lose possession.
Witney had most possession and territory, but Stratford’ defence kept them away from the Try Line. In the dying moments Witney had a driving maul from a Lineout 30m out, advancing 15m. Burke emerged from the back with the ball, making 15m, diagonally, till tackled and penalised for hanging on. No one was in support!
Stratford deserved their win. They showed more flair in the Backs and the Forwards carried on as they had in the 1st Half.
Come on Witney! You can do better than this! You are the Team which beat Chippenham a month or so ago.
Best wishes to Flanker, Lloyd Allan, who was stretchered off in the 40th minute of the 2nd Half.