STAFFORD Rugby Club colts travelled to Newport for a return league fixture on Sunday knowing it would be a hard game having previously lost the home fixture.
The Stafford team contained a lot of the current under 17s who were making their senior colts debut due to the existing team moving up to full senior rugby with the 2nd XV on Saturday.
Lack of match playing time as a team showed in the first 15 minutes with the big Newport pack dominating the broken play, supplying their backs with lots of good quality ball and a converted try soon put the home side 7- 0 ahead.
Stafford began to gel and were still under immense pressure but with strong defending kept Newport at bay and began to attack the opposition line.
The last ten minutes of the first half saw Stafford camped in the home side 22 where Newport conceded a penalty which was converted by fly half Scott Redden. Stafford went into the half-time break trailing by 7-3 but finished the stronger side.
The second half kicked off with Newport renewing their
onslaught of the Stafford line and a defensive kicking error by the visitors gifted the home side an unconverted try to put Newport 12-3 up.
Stafford rallied again and it was the ability to turn defence into quick counter attack that soon saw Newport making mistakes. Newport were under much pressure when a loss of discipline saw them reduced to 14 players after incurring a yellow card.
Stafford pressed home the one man advantage and fast ball from a ruck in the opposition 22, combined with great handling, led to full back Dan Mills crossing the line in the corner for an unconverted try.
With Newport back to full strength Stafford continued to exert pressure and the home side were soon reduced to 14 men again with another yellow card.
Stafford were unlucky not to steal the game in the last few minutes with a clever chip over the defence which nearly resulted in a try.
Despite the 12-8 defeat, the future looks bright for Stafford. The next colts game is at home to Kidderminster on Sunday (2pm).