Thursday 21 February 2013 Updated: 21/02 16:39
STRATFORD slipped to a 22-9 defeat in the Warwickshire 2nd XV Cup final at Old Leamingtonians RFC on Sunday.
It has been 20 years since they reached, and won, the final but this time they were unable come out on top against a strong well drilled Nuneaton side.
Nuneaton had the better of the opening exchanges on a good pitch bathed in sunshine but Stratford took a 17th minute lead courtesy of a penalty from Lewis Hatton.
Shortly after a break involving Rich Beattie and Richard Pepperell led to the latter being set free and should have resulted in a score in the corner but some last ditch defending prevented Pepperell touching down.
Nuneaton were looking the more dangerous and after 25 minutes they levelled the scores with a penalty which was followed by a try five minutes later after some good work by their forwards.
Hatton converted another penalty just before half time awhich reduced the interval arrears to 8-6.
The experienced Stratford pack worked tirelessly to keep in the match and early in the second period were starting to make deep inroads into Nuneaton territory.
But they lost the ball which gave Nuneaton chance to clear their lines and, as the Stratford backs mounted an attack, an interception allowed them to score alongside the posts.
An attack by the Stratford forwards seemed to have ended with a try but the referee adjudged that the ball was held up and nothing resulted from the five metre scrum.
The match was being played at a frantic pace and the Black and Whites kicked another penalty to reduce the arrears on 60 minutes.
However, from the re-start, the Nuneaton forwards managed to make their way down field to score a try which was duly converted.
Nuneaton deserved their victory but it was a gallant effort from Stratford who return to league action against Silhillians this Saturday.
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