29th Sep, 2020

RUGBY - ‘Best yet’ Monners set a new benchmark

Droitwich Editorial 6th Dec, 2019

DROITWICH’S players have been told they have set their standards for the rest of the season after their victory against high-flying Stoke on Trent was hailed their best so far.

The Monners chalked up a third win in the Midlands One West after racing through for six tries in beating Stoke in last Saturday’s rearranged game at the Glyn Mitchell Memorial Ground.

Coach Blair Hunter described it as “our best display of the season” and it was the perfect boost ahead of Saturday’s fixture at home to Sutton Coldfield (2.15pm)

Victory for the 11th-placed Monners, who welcome back centre Matt Handford and prop Ben Smith into the XV, would ease their fears of being sucked into a relegation battle, with second-bottom Sutton sitting five points behind Droitwich.

“Last Saturday was one of those games where everything clicked. It was without doubt the best performance of the season because we played for the whole 80 minutes.

“We’ve been guilty in previous games where we’ve been in front in games but let teams claw their way back. For 20-minute spells we’ve been the best side in matches but not been able to reproduce that form for 80 minutes.

“We said afterwards on Saturday that that has got to be the benchmark for us. We know we are good enough to play in this league.”

The Monners’ first-half dominance was rewarded with a 24-0 half-time lead, and though Stoke responded to test the hosts’ defensive security for much of the second period, Droitwich run in two more tries late on.

Wingers Tom Lawley and Gregor Macleod both scored two tries apiece, with centres Dawid Jessiom and Chris Hooper also crossing the whitewash. Matt Tranter booted three conversions.

“Stoke have been top of the league and they were a big side, with a large set of forwards but we were the more inventive and creative side,” said Hunter.

“With the size of their forwards we thought we would be in for a torrid afternoon but we dominated the scrum which was pleasing.

“Phil Norton at No 8 was excellent, Josh Skinner controlled the game from 10 and Cooper Bent dealt with everything they launched at him at full-back and every time he got the ball he made ground.

“Defensively we were strong too. To nil a side is remarkable and though Stoke had numerous excursions into our 22, especially in he second half, they couldn’t break through. Our discipline was excellent.”

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