Northwich take hard fought match with 12-3 home win
The individual effort and contribution of all the Stockport players could not be faulted but some how the ability to close out a game has avoided them in recent weeks.
Stockport had a hard fought, close game, away at Northwich, which the home side won and went above Stockport in the table. Both sides enjoyed spells of good play and both had to defend well, they also had to deal with some difficult refereeing interpretations at the tackle area. With the Stockport line out not functioning well a number of chances set up by penalties to touch in the Northwich 22 went astray as the home side were able to spoil the Stockport possession by competing strongly in these set pieces. With the score 0-0 at half time and Stockport ahead 3-0 following a penalty early in the second half there was only 11 minutes to go when Northwich went ahead with a converted try and in the very last minute got a lucky break with a kick ahead to seal a 12-3 win, depriving Stockport of a losing bonus point. The individual effort and contribution of all the Stockport players could not be faulted but some how the ability to close out a game has avoided them in recent weeks.
Stockport started well and it was some 8 minutes before Northwich had their hands on the ball. An early chance went begging as Stockport opted for a scrum 5 metres out but the maul was held up as they went for the line and Northwich cleared. The Northwich fly half put in a telling cross kick and the winger seemed to be clear but a great tackle by skipper Kieran Hibbs stopped his run. Stockport dominated territory for most of the first half but were unable to take advantage.
Early in the second half Stockport made a good drive from a line out and were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, which Dudley Southern converted for 0-3 but this attack resulted in Stockport losing the valuable Simon Green to an injury. Another penalty attempt by Southern came back off the posts and Rory Austin, following up seemed to have taken the ball but it was dislodged as he tried to get it to ground. This proved a turning point as Northwich got onto the front foot and put pressure on the Stockport line, a 5 metre scrum was conceded but Stockport defended well, until they just ran out of numbers on the left and the Northwich No. 13 scored a try, which was converted for a home lead at 7-3 with just over 10 minutes to go. On the stroke of full time Rhodri Mayor started an attack from his own 22 and with some good running and an excellent off load by Josh Schofield Stockport got well into the Northwich half. But the ball went loose and Northwich got a boot to the ball and chased it into the Stockport 22, regained possession and scored out wide. There was no conversion and it was too late for Stockport to come back and get at least a losing bonus point.
Next week is a week off before Stockport have a home fixture against Burnage on 9 February.