STAFFORD 1st XV passion was not enough to deny high flying Moseley Oak in a Midlands Two West (North) fixture at Castlefields on Saturday.
STAFFORD 1ST XV 10 MOSELEY OAK 1ST XV 35
The home side resumed first team rugby against second place Moseley Oak on a pitch that showed traces of the recent downpours.
Stafford started the game but were forced into very early defence as slick Moseley movement pushed the ball back up the pitch. The home side tried to regroup but the visitors forward momentum punched through to give them the first try of the match.
Some fantastic sprinting saw Tom Williams flying off the line to charge down the ensuing conversion attempt.
The home side tried to settle but Moseley were relentless in their pressure and a stolen ball resulted in their second try of the match, the conversion stretching the lead.
The visitors looked unstoppable as they moved the ball around the pitch, but strong Stafford defence and a series of crunching tackles saw Moseley wrong footed for the first time in the match.
Nick Oxley showed his blistering pace leaving his opposite number floundering as he hacked a loose ball down the pitch to bring Stafford back into the game with a try, Matty Walklate reducing the deficit further with the conversion.
Moseley Oak continued to press and responded with a converted try to draw further ahead.
Stafford lifted their game again and smashed the opposition back up the pitch. Moseley succumbed to the attack and a home side penalty saw Matty Walklate adding three more points to put Stafford back in touch.
Stafford went into the break trailing by 17-10 against a fluid opponent, but exhibiting occasional moments which showed the rugby that they could play. Moseley Oak began the second half with a successful penalty to put more points on the board.
Stafford then stepped up the intensity and the visitors started to look uncomfortable as they were hammered backwards.
Every Stafford player became involved as they besieged the Moseley Oak line in their best period of play of the match.
The game turned quickly again as the visitors punted the ball down the field and only a well-placed Stafford boot removed the ball from under a try scoring Moseley hand.
Stafford defended valiantly but two further tries and a penalty for the visitors left them with an insurmountable task. They kept pursuing the game until the end and the ferocity and passion was evident in their tackling and defence.
Another difficult afternoon for Stafford against a very good opposition. This Sunday, Stafford turn their attention to the Staffs Cup and a semi-final battle away to Tamworth (2pm).