10:04am Thursday 27th February 2014
By SNJ Sport
THE day was always going to be one of intensity - two local rivals going head-to-head, writes Tim Manton.
Sam Leworthy immediately put Stroud in front with an early penalty, before Jonathan Wand stopped a potential try from Painswick with a fine tackle.
Painswick got off the mark with a penalty minutes later, but it was clear from the start that the home side meant business.
Stroud spread the opposition wide 10 minutes in, and earned a try with some good passing and a burst of speed from winger Harry Phillips.
Painswick again looked to recover, but missed a penalty and found themselves frustrated by Stroud’s defence.
Missing their usual hooker, Stroud fared badly in two consecutive line-outs and gave Painswick space, resulting in a deluge of penalties that were ultimately squandered against the home defence.
As the game went on, it became apparent that winning set-pieces was crucial in order to keep any ground made within the opposition half.
It was in this manner that Stroud got their third try of the half, unleashing Mike Ally with a break from the back of a scrum.
At half-time they were dominant and well ahead on points but, as they soon found out, the game was far from over.
Painswick kicked off the second half with a try, ironically also following a scrum, and pressed hard in Stroud’s half with renewed intent.
Stroud fought back through John Wand and Peter Sykes, who respectively scored a try and converted to reaffirm their lead.
They almost broke again with a couple of runs from Josh Stratton and Sam Viggers. This was followed by a sublime take by Sam Leworthy, and eventually a try; Chris Jones jumped onto a loose ball kicked into the goal area by John Wand after a break on the right flank.
Twenty-seven points up, Stroud remained strong and weathered the efforts of a Painswick side now determined to leave a mark.
The likes of Omar Elbanna did well by contesting every available ball, taking possession when possible and putting in tackles when they were needed.
If they can take anything away from this performance, it is to rely less on high balls and more on passing.
Too often, Stroud lost possession by booting the ball ahead of them, with the rest of their performance suggesting that they can make up ground just as well on foot.
STROUD are holding the first in a series of community open days from 1pm on Saturday at Fromehall Park to mark the club's 140th anniversary.
STROUD lock-horns with Whitehall in the SSE South West Division Gloucester Premier at 2.30pm.
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