Service visited Stroud for the twice previously postponed G2N league fixture. An eagerly awaited fixture that had the makings of being a hard-fought tight encounter. Service started positive.
Playing up the slight slope and into a brisk breeze they drove hard into the Stroud defence. The ball retention, power and ruck speed making holes and good hard metres took the visitors deep into the home sides territory. This opening phase brought a deserved opening score to the visitors when Jordan Mayes crashed over for the opening try after only 4 mins. Service’s failure again at restarts gave the home side possession straight from the kick off. The home side tested the visitors’ defence where they found holes on the fringes, their ability to offload in contact was causing Service problems and continued to do so all afternoon. Pressure built and CCSRFC were falling off tackles and after 14 mins Stroud broke through and scored under the posts and took the lead with a converted try. 7 -5
A lead they never looked like conceding. The tempo which Stroud played the game, Service couldn’t match. An unfortunate yellow card after 24 mins for CCSRFC winger Sam Townsend for what was deemed a deliberate knock on, just compounded the difficulties and on a wide pitch Stroud exploited the space and a further two tries in 4 minutes saw the lead stretch. HT: 19 – 5
Serviced needed to regroup, get some control and apply some pressure. The first score in the second half would be crucial. Poor decision making, individualism, not using overlaps and then just trying to ‘force it’ caused yet further pain for the visitors. Some big ball carries from Matt Baker, Jordan Hayes and Liam Stretton saw hard yards made by Service only for the home defence to be quicker to the breakdowns to make these gains into turnovers. Service’s backline never got going all afternoon. A line-up that promised much saw one out running, poor passing and handling that rarely caused the home side defensive headaches. Stroud were in full control and yet further missed tackles and being second to every breakdown saw the visitors defence breeched twice more in the opening 20 minutes of the second half. 29 – 5
A Paul Bartlett solo run, breaking a couple of Stroud tackles, brought Service some creditability after 70 minutes, with the try converted by Joey Jones. 29 – 12 The final word when to the home side. 76 minutes and a scrum on the visitors 5 metre line saw them go blind and go over the line, unopposed for the final score. 34 – 12
A great first 5 minutes when the visitors were in total control. What happened after that? Well Service were well beaten, second in most aspects of the game to be honest. A fully deserved Stroud victory.
MOTM: Jordan Mayes – out of position in the back row but never took a backward step