STAFFORD 1st XV cleared the first hurdle in this season’s Midland Intermediate Cup as they returned to form with a victory away to Kidderminster.
KIDDERMINSTER 1st XV 21 STAFFORD 1st XV 30
Both teams had suffered defeats in their previous leagues games, with Kidderminster, on paper, just managing to edge the early season form.
The hosts started the game strongly and early play saw them driving deep into Stafford territory, stealing the opening try of the game in the first ten minutes.
Kidderminster tried to build on this early pressure, but Stafford absorbed all of the body blows which were thrown at them and slowly their attacking engine started to splutter into life.
The first concerted assault by Stafford saw Kidderminster temporarily reduced to 14 men as they scrambled to contain the visitors. Stafford made full use of the extra man as Ali Oxley carved through the gaps to score a well-constructed try.
A buoyant Stafford continued to stretch a hard working Kidderminster defence and it was not long before Nick Oxley followed in his brother’s footsteps and forced his way through grasping fingertips for the visitors’ second try of the afternoon.
Stafford continued to work well as a team and a sweetly struck Nick Oxley penalty took them into half time leading 13-7 and very much in control.
If the Stafford engine had taken time in warming up during the first half, then it was firing on all cylinders at the start of the second.
Kidderminster were battered backwards from the opening kick, Stafford stole the ball and Cornish signing Chris Barbagallo squirmed his way across the line for a try on his debut for the club, Nick Oxley kicking the conversion.
The pace on the pitch was taking its toll on both teams, but inventive play saw Darren Mottershead and Scott Raine carving through the defence just falling short of the try line, as two of the more experienced players showed the younger team members the way towards the line.
A subsequent penalty saw Nick Oxley adding a further three points to the tally. Stafford attacked from all areas of the pitch and it was the forwards turn to rumble, Oli Greatholder showing good strength to stretch his way across the try line for the visitors fourth try of the afternoon, Nick Oxley adding the conversion.
Kidderminster ran in two late tries to narrow the end score, but by this point the clock was against them to snatch the victory. It is back to league duty for Stafford this Saturday when visiting Ludlow (3pm).