First Team Sub
Nov 19, 2011, 8:59 PM
Saturday 19th November 2011
Re: [Feversham Lens] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION
Midlands 2 West (North) – Level 7
Spartans (Midlands) RFC 17 Stafford RFC 10
Admission - None
Programme – None, but walking into a virtually empty bar, I noted a piece of paper lying forlornly on a table which turned out to be the Stafford team sheet …..
Refreshments – None. Definite activity in the club kitchen, but no food on sale.
Attendance – 16 at kick-off, eventually peaking at 42!
The 2011/12 Master Plan called for Stourbridge v Frome this afternoon but I rather suspected that game might be a bit “After the Lord Mayor’s Show” for Stourbridge after their Cup exploits last week, and as a grey, miserable day dawned in the West Midlands, inertia set in and I settled for something a lot closer to home. A new ground tick and two new clubs for me.
Spartans’ ground is in Coppice Lane, Middleton (just outside the West Midlands boundary) and they share it with Aston Unity Cricket Club. A single storey brick clubhouse, surrounded in scaffolding for some unfathomable reason, but spacious and uncluttered inside. Pleasant ground, two rugby pitches, the main one roped with two plastic dug-out shelters, but both were on the far side of the cricket square so there was a short trek from the clubhouse. The training area is floodlit, not the pitches, and vast areas of the ground appeared to have received the attention of a spiked roller – it was still a bit boggy in places, and I think I overheard they’d had a water leak. The ubiquitous mobile phone array was present, but screened by conifers so not obtrusive.
Spartans are languishing in the second relegation spot this season, and desperately in need of points. Stafford were mid-table but were coming off the back on an unexpected home defeat last week. Electing to play up the slight slope, Spartans started with a bang and were 7-0 up after 2 minutes, the try scored by their no.14 who chipped over the defence, followed up, and the ball bounced just sufficiently to the left to enable him to touch down wide.
Stafford then spent the next 20 minutes or so encamped in the Spartans 22 but couldn’t find a way through, and a quick break-out by the home team on 22m had them scrambling back fast. Having made it to the far end of the pitch, Spartans capitalized with a second unconverted try from no.14 again, taking the ball through wide on the left. On 31m, Stafford opened their account, catching Spartans cold with a quick, long throw in from the half way line that resulted in Williams scoring in the far corner.
The second half saw Spartans playing down the slight slope, and having got inside Stafford’s 22 and won an infringement, the scrum elected to go for a push-over try. There then followed a fascinating 15 minutes of countless scrums during which they managed to walk it just 10 yards down-field! On 66m, Stafford’s no.22 who had only been on since half-time was yellow carded for a mystery offence, and 3 minutes later, Spartans no.6 got the break through the defence to make it 17-5.
On 74m, in a rare attack, Stafford pulled the score back to 17-10 when following a quick free-kick Yamoyamo was able to race in wide left; however he missed an opportunity to touch-down closer to the posts and the conversion was missed. Still, only one score in it, and Spartans grimly held on in the closing stages, although their cause was helped when a second Stafford player was sin-binned for, we thought on the touchlines, kicking out at an opponent. The home side’s joy when the final whistle went was palpable, and the 4 points for the win moves them out of the relegation zone.
(This post was edited by Ostrich on Nov 19, 2011, 9:01 PM)