Clevedon 14 Stroud 57

STROUD trounced Clevedon to climb to the top of the early-season table, writes Sean Moore.

Newcomer Zinzan Cremins increasingly played his part with tackles and carries, with Stewart Hendry playing a pivotal role.

Early lineout ball was fed to Dan Gordon who found Sam Hester with one of his long passes. The ball then went to Jordan Phipps who finished well in the corner, 5-0. A second try followed a long break from Joe Hoyle who set up Hendry to score under the posts, 10-0.

Probably the best try of the day saw youngster Joe Owens use his flypaper hands to secure lineout ball. This led to fluent inter-passing, particularly from Phipps and Ashenford, leaving Hester free to make a long dash for the line. Herbert converted, 17-0. Hendry then embarked on a long run, fending off any number of would-be tacklers. He was brought down near the line but from the ensuing maul he picked up and scored by placing the ball against the posts, 24-0.

Following the break, Clevedon upped their efforts and seemed certain to score after a long attack. Hester, however, covered brilliantly and hauled the player down metres from the line. That try was saved but Clevedon did gain points shortly afterwards, 24-7. The irrepressible Hendry once again made a powerful break which led to him scoring under the posts. Herbert converted, 31-7.

Stroud then brought on their subs, Marsh, Allen and Hunt, and they all contributed well to this impressive Stroud side. Joe Ashenford was next to score with a well worked try in the corner. Good scrum ball saw Herbert take an incisive line of running and he fed Gordon who fired out one of his long booming passes which Ashenford did well to collect. He then sped thirty metres to score in the corner, 38-7. Gordon then scored an opportunistic try in the dead ball area. He intercepted a ball when Clevedon were trying to run from deep, 43-14.

Herbert was playing extremely well with his hard, direct running and he scored a typical blockbusting try from forty metres out, 50-14. Just before the whistle Hester finished off a fluent move and sprinted under the posts. Jordan Phipps made the conversion with a frail drop kick, 57-14.

Stroud’s progress and ambitions are bound to be tested in the next two weeks with tricky fixtures against Coney Hill and Matson but Stroud have every reason to feel confident if they maintain their determination, team spirit and organisation.