Henley 30 Stourbridge 5
Stourbrigde suffered what has these days become a rare and unusually heavy away defeat, yet they could derive much encouragement from a far better performance than in their abject home capitulation to Redruth last week.
There were two key Stourbridge changes, with veteran No 8 Julian Horrobin being axed in favour of Scott Witcombe while, with Marcus Cook unfit, Duncan Hughes switched to inside centre, allowing a debut at fly-half for on-loan Bristol teenager Rory Teague.
Pinned on the back foot in the first half-hour, Stourbridge soon fell nine points behind as off-side and ballkilling presented three penalty goals to Henley fly-half Mitch Burton, who later added three conversions.
Home full- back Adam Slade then found a gap in the reshuffled Stour backline for the first try and it was 23-0 after 31 minutes when more slick handling put left winger Chris Simmons over for a try.
From that point, however, Stour increasingly gained shape, forward control and composure. Lock Simon Homer was dominant in the lineout, the back row effected turnovers at the breakdowns and Teague settled down.
On the stroke of half-time, Stour were thwarted by their own knock-on in the corner, but they got overdue reward for persistent heavy pressure seven minutes after the interval.
From lineout possession 25 yards out on the right, Teague launched a cross-kick to left-wing Roman Piotrowski, whose inside pass sent over full-back Jon Hall for a try which Teague was unable to convert.
Despite continued territorial dominance, Stour lacked a final cutting edge but Henley were somewhat flattered by the penalty try awarded in stoppage time for obstruction in the race after a kick- ahead from Barry Reeves.
Stourbridge have now sunk to tenth place in the table, though they have a last chance of claiming a home victory in 2005 next Saturday when they face Orrell, who sit second from bottom and suffered a home defeat to midtable Manchester at the weekend.