Stafford 1st XV 7
Crewe and Nantwich 1st XI 29
STAFFORD 1st XV closed their Midlands 2 West (North) season with a fighting loss, but heads held high for a game well contested.
The Castlefields side welcomed Crewe and Nantwich in a return league fixture, the early game having been a close contest between two hungry sides. Crewe promised to be a testing opponent as they came chasing maximum points to cement their promotion position.
The game started with a gusting wind blowing across a sun-drenched pitch. Crewe snatched the first points through a penalty kick which jolted the home side to life. Stafford bullied their way deep into opposition territory, several attacks denting the defensive line which eventually buckled as Chris Metcalfe clawed his way through for the first try of the afternoon. Rich Martin stepped up to increase the lead.
Stafford continued to play some magnificent rugby, stretching the visitors across the pitch. A yellow card reduced Crewe to 14 men but the visitors managed to work a converted try to grab the lead against the run of play and it was 10-7 at the break.
The skies darkened for the start of the second half and an early Crewe try stretched the lead from battling Stafford.
The home side fought to find some momentum, but all the hard work was undone by a third Crewe try. In a chaotic period of play both teams were reduced to 13 men as the sides collected two yellows with one of Crewe’s being converted to a red for a player who was sin binned in the first half.
The game started to lose shape and became scrappy and a late Crewe try finished the afternoon bagging the bonus point win.
It’s been a long season for the Stafford 1st XV but they have tried to play each game with passion and commitment that does them credit.
The sprinkling of young talent that has been interspersed with older heads promises an exciting future for the team. A great many results over the last few months have flattered the opposition.
There may have been a few losses over the season but Stafford were very rarely beaten and no team has come close to breaking the spirit and pride that shines through for the town club.