Rugby: Stoke hit the heights to crush Northwich
STOKE recaptured last season's all-conquering form to score 13 tries en route to a stunning 86-0 home win over Northwich in Midlands One West.
Simon Price led the carnage with four tries as Stoke ruthlessly ended a run of three successive defeats.
Price had already bagged two of his tries and Rich Price a third by the time Stoke ran in three scores in seven minutes before the break for a 43-0 half-time lead.
That three-try flurry began with James Cordall and Paul Ramage going over, while the omnipresent Price also popped up to complete his hat-trick.
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A Glen Joss try was all Stoke had to show for the first 20 minutes of the second half before clicking into overdrive to soar past the half-century mark.
Slick handling, typical of Stoke's better play, sent Ramage over for his second, while Jamie Loska's fine support was rewarded with a try.
Stoke then powered home four tries in the closing seven minutes as Northwich capitulated completely ahead of the final whistle.
William Sant went over first, followed by Price for his fourth, and then Chris Rowley and Sam Christmas joined in the fun to add their names to the scoresheet.
LONGTON resisted late pressure at Newport before Hendry Vaka's breakaway try steered them to a 32-20 victory – and fourth place – in National League Three Midlands.
A nip-and-tuck contest had been up for grabs throughout as Longton, never at their best, were forced to lean heavily on the likes of Francis Nock and 18 year-old debutant Curtis Greene, pictured below, at hooker.
The first of four Longton tries came after just three minutes when full-back Grant Hallam received in the line and kicked over his opposite number for an opportunist touchdown.
Three pick-ups and drives preceded their second try when scrum-half Chris Moors scampered through a gap to go over.
A Chris Buck penalty made it 15-7 to Longton by the break, but a try and a penalty for Newport left the game locked at 15-15 and the visitors wobbling in the second period.
A Newport prop was then sin-binned, however, leaving Buck to kick Longton into a lead they would never relinquish.
And their advantage was extended thanks to strong ball carrying from Rich Thompson before winger Chris Tennuci outstripped the home defence for a converted try.
Newport hit back with a score to cut their deficit to 25-20 before inflicting increasing pressure on the visiting defence.
But their decision to spin the ball late on proved fatal as Vaka intercepted ahead of a 70-metre dash to score in the corner.
SANDBACH cemented sixth place in National League Three Midlands with a 46-19 home triumph over Scunthorpe.
First-half tries from Richard Murray (2) and Jack Leech put Sandbach 22-5 up at the break.
Scunthorpe rallied, but further scores from Simon Verbickas, Dan Massey, Tom Austin and Matt Pollen sealed Sandbach's success.