Bournville 65 Stratford upon Avon 0
DEPLETED Stratford travelled to second placed Bournville expecting a tough Midlands One West test on Saturday and they were not disappointed.
Stratford did not play badly but encountered a heavy, experienced and very streetwise hosts who, having only suffered one defeat this season to leaders Sutton Coldfield, punished any mistakes.
An early penalty opened the scoring before the home touch judge was overruled leading to a Bournville lineout and attack which resulted in a converted try.
The Black and Whites lost centre Elliot Smith to injury and he was replaced by Ollie Ball, making a welcome return, with flanker Chris Cathcart moving to the centre.
Bournville scored another converted try before Stratford settled down, with No 8 Jim Richardson, also making a welcome return from a sabbatical, prominent in several drives from the base of the scrum.
Bournville broke through for another converted try, while Stratford replied with a long run by full back Dan Whitby, strong drives by props James Hancock and Simon Baldwyn and lock Geoff Dyson, plus a determined run by flanker Marko Mladenovic.
Bournville touched down after a pass that looked dubiously forward, but there was nothing dubious about a further try.
Stratford went close but a pass was knocked on with the line in sight.
At the other end a further home try was denied by solid defending at a maul by the pack, but shortly after a pass back from a lineout was intercepted for another converted try.
Strong tackles were made by Whitby and captain and fly-half Simon Brain but Bournville touched down again on the stroke of half time for a 48-0 lead.
The situation looked desperate for Stratford but they rallied, putting sustained pressure on the home line with attacks by Baldwyn and wing Callum Cook.
A Stratford penalty was kicked to the corner and the lineout taken by second row Tom Mylott, leading to a prolonged series of mauls on the Bournville line, eventually ended by a turnover.
Another Bards attack ended with a knock on and Bournville eventually broke away for a try.
Strong tackling by centre Sam Joyce and hooker Tom Hall kept Bournville at bay and Stratford returned to the attack with sniping runs from scrum half Matt Allen, neat interpassing between Whitby, Cathcart and wing Dom Skinner, plus a series of strong forward drives.
Bournville, however, scored again following a loose clearance kick but Stratford did not let their heads drop at any time and matched their higher placed opponents for much of the second half.
Stratford must put the setback behind them and concentrate on the crucial league match against Bedworth at Pearcecroft this Saturday (3pm).
Support is vital with the match preceded by a mini coaches, parents and vice-presidents lunch at 1pm. Contact Jonathan Dalton or Dave Young to book places.
STRATFORD archer Caitlin McCarthy has been hand-picked as
Stratford Town 4 Highgate United 2 TOWN bounced
THE Midland Road Relays at Sutton Park in
ALISON MCMILLAN shot her first career possible which
Evesham United 1 Tiverton Town 1 Southern League Division One ...
RIDGEWAY Middle School recently took 96 pupils to a district ...
OLYMPIC archer Naomi Folkard will be among hundreds of contenders ...
FULL back Ben Howard says the shackles will be off ...