Chew Valley 48

Stroud 19

STROUD came off second-best in a fast-moving game against title contenders Chew, writes Sean Moore.

Chew played at a furious pace from the start with their powerful centres and full back being particularly evident. Stroud responded in a similar vein but at times lacked the cutting edge of the Chew backs.

Chew opened the scoring with a converted try following a well executed catch and drive from an attacking lineout. Stroud’s defence was at full stretch and their tackling was of a high order with only one or two lapses.

Stroud equalized with a great try from scrum half Joe Hoyle. Following a scrum on the Chew 22 he went blind and beat two defenders to go over in the corner. Kurtis Herbert converted in style, 7-7.

Chew however continued to apply pressure and were rewarded by a further converted try. Stroud’s forwards battled toe to toe with the Chew pack and the forwards were particularly effective in set pieces and showed good cohesion and discipline in their pick and drive moves. From a position in mid-field the forwards made Chew concede a penalty. The penalty was quickly taken and a long pass from Sam Hester released winger Pete Sykes who continued his run of form as he beat two defenders in a tight space and sped over in the corner, 14-12.

This very physical game took its toll and Regan Herbert and Charlie Foote both had to be replaced, with Mark Phillips and Tom Warner filling the gaps. Later on Joe Hoyle also had to leave the field. During this phase Chew were rampant and brought the score up to 38-12. Stroud showed their spirit by counter-attacking; from a quickly taken penalty Joe Hoyle again showed his great attacking skills, beating three defenders with a dummy and a searing burst of speed to go over in the corner. Herbert smoothly converted, 28-19.

In the second half Chew added a further converted try and penalty to bring the final score to 48-19. Chew’s place kicker had an excellent game, converting all of his kicks – six conversions and two penalty goals. Stroud never really came to terms with the tight confines of the small pith but they can take some considerable pride from their spirited defence and their willingness to counter-attack. Hopefully their injured players will make speedy recoveries bearing in mind the tough fixtures ahead.