Superb Boars stun runaway leaders Stourbridge

Stourbridge 12, Bromsgrove 21

INSPIRED Bromsgrove caused the upset of the season at Stourbridge by inflicting the runaway National North Two leader’s first defeat.

A blistering first half display and a solid second half performance at Stourton Park saw Ross Baxter’s side record their best win of the campaign and end Stourbridge's 18-match winning streak.

The match only went ahead after a 100 strong army of Stourbridge reporters cleared the snow off the pitch in the Black Country.

It wasn’t the only Herculean effort that day as the visiting Bromsgrove side ruined the hosts’ 100 per cent record to notch up a fantastic win.

The Boars started the match looking like the form team and the early stages they were camped on the home line, retaining possession well and keeping the leaders on the back foot.

Their efforts were rewarded after five minutes when they out muscled the formidable Stourbridge pack to drive the excellent Chris MacGregor over for a try which was well-converted by John Critchlow.

The next 15 minutes proved that the visitors were up for the challenge as they did not let Stourbridge take the initiative and deservedly added to their tally with a Critchlow penalty on 20 minutes.

That did prompt a response as the big home pack started putting a bit of pressure on, testing Town’s magnificent defence which started to crack a little when Steve Blackburn was yellow carded.

Stourbridge eventually opened their scoring on the half hour when a clever inside pass put Will Hurrell over by the posts, which Caolan Ryan converted.

But Bromsgrove refused to fold and they forced Stourbridge onto the back foot again, who had Rob Hurrell carded on about 35 minutes.

As half-time approached an excellent turnover led to a score in the corner by Warren Oliver.

This was followed by another Critchlow penalty on the stroke of the break to give Town an unexpected but well-deserved 18-7 half-time lead.

Stourbridge started the second half back at full strength and after only two minutes, Drew Harper was sent over from close range, the relatively simple conversion was missed.

The second half was keenly contested with both defences being generally on top.

Both sides had opportunities but there was always someone there to bring the move to a halt.

Town were well marshaled by the returning Aaron Higgins at scrum half, and both Tom Millen and Olly Bache relished the challenge of returning to their old club.

The tackling from both teams was very physical and no quarter was given by either side.

Chris Morgan as ever punched above his weight and was eventually replaced by Gino Belmonte who had his best 20 minutes for the club.

Town extended their lead on 60 minutes when replacement fly half Richard Mahony kicked a good penalty.

The home side were getting frustrated, anticipating that Bromsgrove would run out of steam which never happened, and a few cases of back chat cost them yards of territory.

But the visitors defence remained solid and with a two score buffer held out for a thoroughly deserved win.

The home supporters and committee were a little shell-shocked but were magnanimous in defeat and excellent hosts.

Bromsgrove now take on Leicester Lions at home on Saturday (2.15pm ko).

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