Rugby: Stafford stun leaders with fine display
STAFFORD produced a stirring performance to put paid to Midlands Two West North front-runners Wolverhampton's 100 per cent record.
Wolves travelled north from the Black Country with four wins under their belts, but Stafford ran out 33-28 victors in a thrilling encounter.
A Wolverhampton try and penalty gave them early impetus, although Stafford – with two Matty Walklate kicks in the bag – hit top gear.
A flowing backs move resulted in Alex Yamoyamo crashing over for Stafford's first score, with a solid scrum then providing the base for Mark Broomhall to add a second.
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And with the trusty boot of Walklate continuing to keep the scoreboard ticking over, Stafford went into the break 21-8 to the good.
Wolverhampton, with a few choice words still ringing in their ears, upped the ante in the early stages of the second period.
A couple of tries, allied to a successful penalty, inched them ahead as they eyed up a fifth straight success.
No quarter was asked or given during a physical match-up, but it was Wolves who blinked first when they allowed Steve Rowland to out-pace the defence to cross over.
Stafford were gifted some breathing space when persistent infringement from the visitors saw Stafford awarded a penalty try – a chance snapped up by Walklate.
Wolverhampton added a late score of their own, but Stafford held on.
LEEK are just a point behind their county rivals in fourth after dishing out a 60-0 thumping to Lordswood Dixonians.
Nick Palmer, Dan Smith and Adrian Nettel all crossed twice, with Gary McDermott and Luke Hardern also finding the scoresheet.
Sam Hunt kicked seven conversions and two penalties to secure a personal 20-point tally.
NEWCASTLE were their own worst enemies as they surrendered the lead in a 16-14 defeat at Willenhall in Midlands Three West North.
Everything appeared rosy in the Castle garden with tries from Liam Bailey and Sam Evans enabling them to establish a 14-3 lead.
Willenhall, whose only joy had been a penalty, were given a helping hand back into proceedings by Newcastle errors.
Missed tackles enabled the home side to cross over for their first score, before an unnecessary penalty was conceded to reduce the lead to 14-11 at the break.
A Willenhall try in the second half inched them ahead, and although Newcastle dominated territory and possession, the hosts clung on.
ECCLESHALL held their nerve to clinch a 9-8 home victory over Handsworth.
Three penalties from fly-half Tom Hodgkinson proved to be the difference.