RFU National League One: Stourbridge 23 Wharfdale 20
It took what Neil Mitchell described as “an emotional speech” at half-time – and a last-minute penalty try – to turn around another looming disaster in Stourbridge’s troubled season.
The director of rugby’s impassioned words must have done the trick as his side came out to record only their second win this term.
It all started well for Stour when they went 10-0 up with the wind and the elements at their back but then as the mistakes mounted Wharfedale took advantage to turn around 17-13 ahead and a ninth defeat in ten was beckoning.
Mitchell said: “We just took our foot off the gas. It was a typical bottom-of-the-table game, there were mistakes by both sides but we were 10-0 ahead and went in 17-13 down.”
Hence Mitchell’s rallying call.
“I just told them we had 40 minutes to play rugby and dig ourselves out,’’ he added.
The heartfelt words had their effect as Stour battled their way to a hard-fought victory, lifting themselves above both Wharfedale and Bees.
Mitchell accepts, though, that the victory has only stopped the rot and more wins are needed before the corner is finally turned.
He continued: “We are still in a position we don’t want to be in but if we can get our act together there is no reason we cannot get something from our next games at Rosslyn Park and Sedgley Park.
We know what we need to do.”
Mitchell was unhappy at the performance of the match officials and will be making his feelings known to the RFU.
“It affected both sides. It was inconsistent and we were being pinged for everything,” he said.
A try from scrum-half Tom Richardson and a conversion and a penalty from wing James Hearn had put Stour into the lead before a three-try blitz saw the visitors surge ahead before the break.
Stour regrouped and dominated the second half with a last-gasp penalty try for constant infringing by the Greens as their deserved reward.