Harry Stride with a hattrick of tries in a battle at Gordano.
By Andrew Tanner
Disruptions with injury did not stop Chew Valley picking up a try bonus point on the road with tne foundations in a huge defensive effort from every man.
Gordano 19 Chew Valley 47
The score does not truly reflect how closely fought this encounter was. Gordano had more than their fair share of the ball but their plan A which involved their big forwards taking the ball one out did not yield scores as they camped in the visitors 22 for long periods of the first half. Chew Valley had to reorganise after 5 minutes losing centre Ben Whitemore
Alex Cameron, normally used to the comfort of the 9 shirt found himself on the wing on wide open spaces. Experienced wingers Joe Webb and Harry Stride combined to run the ball out of defence for Stride to cross for his first on 11 minutes. Dan Gatton at 10 tweaked a hamstring with 15 gone and spent the rest of the half on one leg. Against the run of play a penalty to the corner and simple looking after the ball through the phases led to flanker Luke Sparkes Brown finding a gap for a try and just after the half hour as the home pack took a breather Stride picked a line off a ruck on the home 22 to split the defence for his second try taking an inside pass from Gatton.
The bonus point try just before tne break was delivered by Joe Cowell operating in the centre having stripped the ball from his opposite number in the tackle. Cameron converted the lot for a 28 nil halftime lead.
The Chew Valley travelling support, mindful of what happened last weekend at HQ, saw Gordano skipper Tom Arnold score on 45 minutes followed by his fellow second row Matt Steadman on 58 as Chew Valley failed to clear their lines. With the referee not having much involvement in the game, particularly at the breakdown and Reece Carter at 10 with Gatton off at the break, the visitors nerves were settled when Joe Webb came into the line off a scrum on halfway to break the gainline and put Cowell in for his second. Skipper Alex Cox collected an inside pass from scrum half Ben Mead, back from a spell on the slopes on 63 minutes. Winger Jack Last crossed the line with the ball barely under control following a juggling act on 75 minutes as Gordano chased the bonus point that would secure survival. Stride secured his hattrick at the death to cap a man of tne match performance and keep Chew Valley in the hunt for automatic promotion. Next up Matson at home 30th March.