The visiting side had been going well so far this season with four wins from their six league games so far, but have struggled to match their home form when on their travels, both their losses coming on the road. After a slow start to the campaign, V’s are finding their feet and went into the game with the confidence of a home win against Old Yards and an away win last week at Shrewsbury.
The game was well contested throughout with both sides looking to dominate in the set piece and the breakdown, in particular being fiercely contested – it was perhaps this pressure that led to a somewhat scrappy afternoon but an entertaining one none the less with both sides feeling they could get the win.
In the early exchanges, the home side looked to play for territory but was at times guilty of kicking possession away. However, it was the V’s that made the first breakthrough with in form scrum half Will Slattery sniping down the blindside to score from 30m.
Both sides struggled to dominate territory with the majority of the game taking place in the middle third with some resolute defending and some errors from both sides. Stafford got the next score and a half time score of 5-5 reflected the balance of the game thus far.
In the second half Veseyans looked to up the tempo and push for the win, some big tackling in the midfield from stand in captain Rob Russell gave the whole side a boost and they pushed for the win. A penalty from Fly Half Ben Brown gave the home side a slender lead but the game was on a knife edge.
The winning moment came from a piece of individual brilliance and was worthy of a game winning try. Veseyans winger Joe Williams found himself boxed in on the left side and looked to be shut down, but an outside of the foot chip got over the defensive line and Williams burnt round the outside of the defence before gathering his own kick and going over in the corner.
Stafford went in search of the losing bonus point in the final couple of minutes but Veseyans were able to keep them at bay and were well worth the win.
Head Coach Dan Hemingway praised his side’s resilience over the last couple of weeks. “We started the season slowly and had a couple of disappointing results, but the boys are working hard and everything we are doing on the training pitch is coming out on a Saturday. We have a great young squad and they are continuously improving. Some individuals have really stepped up as leaders and the whole squad are buying into what we are trying to build. Rob Russell has been outstanding all season and Will Slattery has taken his game to another level in recent weeks.”
Veseyans face a tough run of fixtures into Christmas with games against the top three sides in the league as well as high flying Tamworth.