BUOYANT Stafford 1st XV powered their way into the second round of the Staffordshire Cup, as the new camapign got under way at Castlefields on Saturday.
The first round of the county cup saw Stafford hosting Leek, with league honours even from last season after home victories.
Stafford found themselves under early pressure from a confident Leek team. The defence remained steadfast and absorbed all of the probing attacks.
A wayward pass was intercepted by Stafford’s Alex Yamoyamo who danced through the opposition to score the opening try of the game, the conversion falling just short from a difficult position.
The Stafford forwards took control of the game from the restart and after coming close to scoring pushover tries from two successive scrums, the third proved decisive and Richie Whatling grounded the ball for the second try of the game, the conversion again being marginally missed.
Leek responded to the challenge and after missing two penalty kicks did not pass up the opportunity to score their first points of the game from a third such attempt.
A growling Stafford pack forced their way back up the pitch and scored a mirror image pushover try to give Richie Whatling his second score of the game and the third for the home side. The distance was good on the conversion attempt but it flew just wide of the posts.
Leek missed a further penalty but were soon awarded another which caught the wind and curved its way over.
Stafford secured the ball at the restart and rampaged back up the pitch culminating in an unstoppable driving maul giving Richie Whatling his third score of the game and Stafford’s fourth.
The home side went into the break with a comfortable 20-6 lead, while Leek were reduced to 14 men with a sin binning right at the end of the half.
Leek started the second half with more determination and drive, forcing Stafford into a defensive game. Despite their best efforts they could not penetrate the Stafford line and some excellent positional kicking moved the play back towards the middle of the pitch.
A series of probing runs resulted in Stafford gaining a penalty, Matty Walklate stepped up and duly slotted it between the posts for another score.
Some excellent running and handling resulted in Johnny Watson-Jones scoring Stafford’s fifth try of the game, which was duly converted by Walklate. Running became the order of the day as the ball flew right and left across the pitch, Tom Smith scoring the final try of the game, which was again successfully converted by Walklate.
It was a good performance by Stafford which showed sustained dominance and demonstrated the excellent fitness in the team following summer training.
This Saturday, Stafford 1st XV open their Midland 2 West (North) league fixtures at home to Silhillians (ko 3pm).