Rugby: Stoke edged out in thrilling encounter
STOKE'S roller-coaster Midlands One West campaign continued as they returned from Old Halesonians on the wrong end of a 32-25 scoreline.
But despite suffering their fourth defeat in six matches since winning promotion, there were plenty of positives for the Barlaston-based club.
A first-half try from Simon Price, allied to a conversion and drop goal from the boot of Sam Christmas, emphasised Stoke's attacking capabilities against their high-flying hosts.
However, Old Halesonians displayed a cutting edge of their own in the attacking third, scoring three tries to end the first 40 minutes 19-10 to the good.
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A further score was added in the formative stages of the second period, but Stoke continued to press and probe the home side's defensive line.
Peter Wilshaw stole possession at a line-out, and from the resulting ruck, William Sant charge through a gap in the hosts' defence to score.
Both sides traded penalties, before Stoke put themselves within two points of Old Halesonians thanks to a try scored, and converted, by Chris Rowley.
However, just as they built up a head of steam to launch a final assault, Stoke were caught out by the home side, who crossed for a match-clinching try.
STAFFORD were left to rue squandering a half-time lead and missing a last-minute conversion attempt as they slipped to a 15-14 defeat at Old Saltleians in Midlands Two West (North).
Stafford absorbed early pressure from Old Salts, and went in at half-time 6-0 ahead thanks to a couple of penalties from Matty Walklate.
The home side soon put their first points on the board with a try to keep themselves in touch, although Walklate's boot put further daylight between the sides.
Old Salts cranked up the pressure and it eventually told with a couple of unconverted tries, which left them 15-9 in front as the clock ticked down.
A yellow card reduced the home side to 14 men, and with time almost up, a well-oiled Stafford back-line spun the ball wide for Ali Oxley to cross in the corner.
But the difficult conversion was missed, the whistle was blown, and Stafford were left wondering what might have been.
LEEK'S road trip turned into a nightmare as they were taught a rugby lesson in a 42-0 hammering at Silhillians.