Stockport Lose Narrowly to Burnage
Stockport slip to home defeat against local rivals after losing fly half to injury in the first two minutes.
Report by Clive Oldham
Stockport’s recent injury blight continued at Headlands Road against Burnage, when they lost player/coach Eaton after only two minutes. The yellow card the visitor’s flanker received for a robust late challenge did not really redress the balance for Stockport, losing such an influential player so early in the piece. Burnage played at a high tempo with their centre No 13 and scrum half being particularly effective and thoroughly deserved the win by the end of proceedings.
Following the Burnage No 18’s departure for the late tackle the visitors spent the next five minutes in Stockport’s 22. Good home defence was followed by Stockport’s first incursion into the Burnage half. Steady Stockport forward play resulted in a 5m scrum to Burnage which was destroyed by excellent home scrummaging. Stockport continued to press through their forwards but unfortunately knocked on in a tackle for the Burnage No 9 to take advantage and race away down the pitch to make the opening score, which was converted, 0-7. The home side were now on the back foot and when the influential Burnage centre broke three tackles to score under the posts, Stockport were teetering at 0-14. Burnage continued to turn the screw with more pressure on the Stockport line resulting in a penalty 10m out, which was successfully kicked to make the score 0-17 approaching half time. Stockport were guilty of giving their visitors too many turnovers and it was preventing the home side developing any momentum. However, the Stockport forwards managed to work their way up the pitch and exert pressure on the Burnage line. From a set scrum the ball was moved left and from a good forward drive prop Nyemba was able to score his first ever try for Stockport, converted by Southern to make it 7-17 at half time.
The majority of the second half was played between the two 22 lines. Stockport were able to use the stiff breeze to make sure they played mainly in the visitors half. From the Burnage 22 Stockport secured a series of line outs and on the third of these they executed a fabulous 20 m rolling maul enabling the home team to cross for a try amidst a pile of bodies, which was converted by Southern. Stockport were suddenly well in contention at 14-17. Indeed they missed an opportunity to level the scores when a penalty was missed. The play again remained between the opposing 22s, until in the last minute Burnage made it into the home 22, when Stockport were deemed offside from what seemed to the spectators as ‘open play’. While everyone scratched their heads over this curious decision, Burnage took the penalty quickly to score an unconverted try and win the game 14-22.
Next week Stockport are away at Blackburn, KO 2-15pm.