STAFFORD Rugby Club welcomed in the new season with a 40-15 victory in the County Cup Preliminary Round against Tamworth.
The last encounter between these two teams was in the semi-final of the same cup competition, with Stafford suffering a 29 -17 defeat.
Six months on and a full strength home team were chomping at the bit to rectify the disappointment of the last meeting.
Early play saw the home side testing the visitors defensive capabilities with a combination of thundering forward attacks flanked by a darting back line.
The play saw the Tamworth line stretched and it wasn’t long before Johnny Watson-Jones marked his return to the team with a blistering run to put Stafford 5 – 0 ahead.
Stafford built on their dominance and came close again as they crisply executed set moves.
Tamworth couldn’t find a response and a determined drive by the home forwards battered them back over their own line, Dan Smith falling on the ball for a 10 – 0 Stafford lead.
The pressure was unrelenting and Dan Smith found space for his second try of the afternoon with Rich Martin kicking the conversion to give a comfortable 17 – 0 lead.
Striking back, the visitors had two unconverted tries of their own to narrow the gap, but a late penalty kick by Rich Martin took Stafford into a half-time lead of 20 – 10.
The half-time team talk lifted Stafford to new heights, crisp passing and driving play saw Rich Martin played through to add a try to his points tally for the afternoon.
A subsequent Stafford penalty effectively sealed the game for the home side but the home side continued to turn the screw and Watson-Jones left the defence standing for his second try of the game.
Dave Wareham closed the home sides afternoon out with a superb finish extending the lead to 40-10.
Tamworth ended the game with a consolation score to make the final result 40 -15.
Martin Lennon, Club Chairman, reflected on an exciting future in prospect for the club, “We have made great strides forward in the last year in the club with improved facilities and services.
“We have also made great progress towards finding a new permanent home for the club.
“The coming season promises to be tremendously exciting for the players and the club as a whole and we are looking forward to as much support as we can for the mens, ladies and juniors this season”
Next up for Stafford 1st XV is an away game against Crewe and Nantwich on September 14 (Saturday), kick off 15.00.