With his team’s league season reaching a nerve jangling denouement Neil Mitchell has paid tribute to the man he calls Mr Stourbridge.
The Stourton Park director of rugby once again finds his back line decimated by injuries with scrum half Tom Richardson reporting in as the only totally fit threequarter.
That has been a fairly constant state of affairs in recent weeks with once-retired Marcus Cook and the crocked Jon Higgins already asked to step back into the firing line at fly half, as Stour look to secure their National Two status.
The situation became even worse last Saturday as regular full back and place-kicker Ally Bressington pulled up on his way to the Redruth try-line with a torn hamstring.
And that has forced appearance record holder Jon Hall to answer his club’s call against Cambridge this weekend even though he is already booked in for knee reconstruction surgery in the off-season.
“I don’t think any other sportsman I have ever met would make that decision,” says a grateful Mitchell. “He really is Mr Stourbridge and everyone here should appreciate him for doing what he is. We will have to see how he gets on.
“As soon as he feels any crunching inside the knee he’s going to have to come off but I know he’ll do what he can.”
Bressington’s absence will foist the kicking duties on Richardson while Ben Barkley and Jon Holtby are likely to have to ignore their respective hamstring and calf problems as Stour go in search of the three points they need for safety.
Mitchell’s side are one of a quartet of teams all trying to dodge the final relegation spot and as the highest placed of those should, in theory, have least to worry about.
But with promotion chasing Cambridge due in town on Saturday there is a strong chance Stour will have to face another of those threatened clubs, Blaydon, on the final day – possibly on a loser takes nothing basis.
Whether Hall will be there to participate is another matter.