Midlands 2 West (N) 
23rd April 2022, 3:00 pm
Stafford
17 - 18
Longton 1st XV
Stafford Rugby Club

Match Report

Longton travelled to play local rivals, Stafford, without captain, Pete Wilshaw, and several other regular players but emerged victorious by 18pts to 17.

Longton started well and looked the livelier side but could not convert their pressure into points. Stafford gradually got on top and a powerful charge by one of their sturdy forwards took out several Longton defenders allowing their backs to switch the ball quickly to the wing to score in the corner. Midway through the first half Longton then had a series of sustained pressure from lineouts close to the home line; on two occasions Longton were certain that they had scored but the referee ruled otherwise and amazingly Stafford survived. When Stafford were penalised for a high tackle Grant Hallam landed the penalty to put Longton on the scoreboard. As so often happens in these circumstances Stafford then got into the Longton “22” and scored a second try in the left-hand corner. As with first try the difficult conversion failed leaving Stafford in front by 10-3pts. at half-time.

After 15mins. of the second half a forward drive resulted in a Longton try, prop, Tim Wareham, getting the touchdown. Grant Hallam converted to make it 10pts. all. Then, shortly afterwards Stafford fought back with fast hands sending the ball to the right-wing who kicked ahead for the ball to be collected by a fellow player who touched down for a try. The conversion was good putting Stafford ahead by 17pts. to 15pts. with 15mins. still left on the clock.

Longton continued to have the territorial advantage as second-row, Rich Thompson, charged for the line but was caught and pulled down before support could reach him. In the closing minutes Longton were awarded a penalty just in the Stafford half; Longton chose to kick for goal but into the wind it was always going to be difficult and the kick fell short. Stafford failed to take the ball very far downfield and Longton were awarded another penalty, this time in a much easier position. Grant Hallam held his nerve and slotted the kick firmly between the posts to put Longton in front by 18pts. to 17 and they were able to see the game out to emerge victors by the narrowest of margins at 18-17pts.

The victory nudged Longton into 5th. position in the final table.

M. Wheat.