Once again this season, the spectators at the Memorial Ground were subjected to strong gusts of cold wind on Saturday afternoon. Who could blame them for expecting another close and cagey affair with little attacking rugby? How wrong they were! Credit must go to both sides who came out with the intent to play with ball in hand from minute one.
Veseyans began the brighter despite having the strong wind blowing into there faces and early pressure on the Stourbridge line was converted when captain Jimmy Hateley went over the line at the back of a well constructed driving maul, however, into the brunt of the wind the conversion from the corner near enough went backwards. Veseyans continued to build pressure after the score, Stourbridge having difficulty building phases together despite strong running from their back row. Veseyans managed to stretch the led to 8-0 from a Chris Cheney penalty in front of the sticks.
This seemed to trigger the Stourbridge side to life and they begin to put together some threatening attacks, with their left winger showing good pace and evasive running, match only by the freaky gas of Jack Clayton. Veseyans kept them at bay through a series of good defensive sets and some outstanding last gasp tackling from flanker Ali Booth, as the Stourbridge Fly Half looked certain to score. The pressure finally told though, and the V’s will surely be disappointed with the soft nature of the try, allowing the Stourbridge centre a clean break through the middle to go under the posts, making the half time score 8-7 to Veseyans.
After half time the V’s began to take control of the game, scrum half Will Slattery pulling the strings with some pin point kicking down to the corners, pinning Stourbridge in their own half. A series of lineouts in the Stourbridge 22 led to some good old fashioned pick and go, and second row Adam Mitchell was able to flop over the line for the V’s.
Stretching the lead seemed to breath new life into a Veseyans side who have been short on trys and attacking flair this season, with some big line breaks from Rob Lenderyou and Mitchell they looked certain to add more scores. It was the direct running of winger Matt Hipkiss which finally made the difference, making a number of breaks through the middle of the field and crossing for Veseyans third and fourth trys, securing the bonus point that Veseyans both deserved and needed.
Scrum Half Will Slattery was able to add a fifth try before Stourbridge claimed a consolation in the last minute of the game.
A great performance from the V’s whose confidence will be boosted by the try bonus point.