STAFFORD 1st XV staged a fantastic fightback against Crewe and Nantwich - only to be thwarted by a last-minute try.
Crewe started the game the brightest and were soon putting pressure on the visitors. The Stafford defence remained solid and held off several promising attacks but eventually succumbed to give Crewe the first try of the game.
Stafford responded with a series of aggressive plays which battered their opponents into a well-worked penalty, Rich Martin slotting the ball between the posts.
Another Crewe try restored the home side’s advantage and another Martin penalty hauled the visitors back into the game.
The play was relentless and bruising as both sides started to amass injuries.
Two more Crewe tries closed the half with the home side securing the bonus point and holding a sizeable 22 – 6 lead, but having held their own for long periods of the game.
An inspirational half-time talk by the coaching team worked wonders for the visitors.
Stafford prised open gaps which had eluded them in the first half and the Crewe defence was left standing as Danny Duggan hacked the ball forward, and stretched a hand across the line to grab Stafford’s first try.
A subsequent minor altercation resulted in a yellow card for both teams.This unsettled Crewe more than Stafford, and they struggled to contain a resurgent attacking performance from the visitors, Nick Oxley eventually shouldering his way across the line to score Stafford’s second.
As the confidence surged, Danny Duggan danced through desperate hands to score Stafford’s third and narrow the deficit to one point. With the game balanced on a knife edge, both teams created opportunities, but it was Crewe who finished the game with a lastminute try to deny Stafford the reward for a superb second half performance.