Stroud 29

Avonmouth OB 32

A TREMENDOUS second-half display fell just short for a Stroud side looking to cement their fourth-place in the Western Counties North League.

Stroud opened their account when Dan Gordon found Peer, who was able to collect and break up the middle. As the covering defenders closed in, a well-timed off load found Phipps, who surged in on the left. Herbert converted 7-0.

This unfortunately was the only real Stroud highlight of the first half with the remaining 30 minutes being dominated by Avonmouth, who led 26- 7 at the break.

The second half started with more Avonmouth possession, but the Stroud defence galvanised themselves.

Avonmouth were able to secure the ball however and eventually force a penalty when Stroud infringed at the breakdown. A successful kick for goal kept the scoreboard ticking over. 7-29.

However, carries by Leworthy and Smith took play within metres and looked to give Stroud an inevitable score. An Avonmouth infringement on their own line however resulted in the referee awarding a penalty try. 14-29.

Stroud showed patience and pick and drives from Stratton and Marshall continued the impetus before Ashenford and Gordon combined to release Regan Herbert, who powered over from 10m. 19-29.

Avonmouth applied pressure from the kick-off and soon forced a penalty, which again they opted to kick for goal. Another successful kick would ultimately prove crucial. 19-32.

This time it was Stroud’s turn to pressurise the kick-off and despite securing possession, Avonmouth were penalised when another fine tackle from Flanagan allowed Regan Herbert to get over the ball. Hester found touch 5m out before a well-executed catch and drive from Smith’s pinpoint throw saw Higgins touch down in the corner. 24-32.

Despite the arrears, Stroud certainly sensed there was a way back into this game. Switching play back to the right, Gordon released Leworthy on an excellent line, a carbon copy of earlier in the half. This time his outside run took him beyond the last defender and he ran in in the corner. 29-32.

Stroud travel to Barton Hill on Saturday, 3pm.