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Thursday 29 November 2012 Updated: 29/11 11:37
Stratford upon Avon 17 Berkswell & Balsall 9
IN THE first league meeting between the two sides it was Stratford that prevailed in dull dreary conditions at Pearcecroft on Saturday.
It was a much changed Stratford side with many regular faces missing. Experienced campaigners Elliot Smith, playing at scrum half, Simon Baldwyn at loose head and Eddie Walton at No 8, all making their first appearances this season for the 1st XV, put in very creditable performances.
Stratford dominated the early exchanges as they were first to the rucks and with Tom Mylott dominating the lineout all looked set for a comfortable home victory.
After 15 minutes the Black and Whites created an overlap for Jo Cook to exploit and although he was tackled just short of the line, tight head prop Geoff Dyson was in support to take the offload and dive between the sticks. Simon Brain added the extras.
The home side continued to pin the visitors back in their own half and this resulted in a penalty on 20 minutes which Brain expertly put into the corner.
A clean catch by Mylott allowed the forwards to set up an unstoppable maul and Chris Cathcart at the back touched down, again from an acute angle Brain slotted the conversion.
Although Stratford pressed for the remainder of the half it was the visitors who gained the only other points of the half with a penalty after 30 minutes.
B & B were more prominent in the second half and only some resolute defensive play stopped them from crossing the whitewash.
The Stratford backs were finding conditions difficult as opportunities were missed to extend the lead.
An exchange of penalties after 60 minutes made the score 17–6 and the visitors found themselves a man down for ten minutes due to persistent offside infringements.
Stratford were on top in the closing stages and the forwards went close when another lineout, close to the visitors line, was driven over but was judged to be held up by the referee.
The visitors kicked a late penalty but Stratford finished deserved winners and are eighth in the table.
Stratford have no scheduled fixture this weekend but they return to league action with a trip to rock-bottom Camp Hill on Saturday, December 8.
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