4:59pm Sunday 12th January 2014
HARD taskmaster Neil Mitchell still wants more from his Stourbridge side after watching them record a comprehensive 46-12 success over Caldy - writes NICK PULLEN.
Stourbridge Director of Rugby Mitchell was unhappy with the manner his side conceded two tries against Caldy and let further scoring opportunities slip from their grasp.
The eclipsing of Caldy keeps Stourbridge third in National League 2 North but Mitchell realises that trips to title rivals Macclesfield and Sedgley Park will be key to their promotion chances this season.
That's why Mitchell wants his troops to be more clinical against some of the league's lesser lights, although Cheshire side Caldy proved to be no pushovers.
Stourbridge came flying out of the traps and should have scored a try in the opening minute, but an alert touch judge ruled that right wing Nathan Bressington overstepped the line on his way over and disallowed the score. Harsh - but it was the correct call.
However, Stourbridge didn't have to wait too long to open their account. They set up a driving maul after five minutes which Caldy couldn't contain - flanker Tatenda Mukarati getting the final touch.
Three minutes later Bressington finally got his reward after fly half Sam Robinson punched a hole in Caldy's defence, Matt Farrington drew the covering defence before sending the numberless Bressington breezing over the line.
Full back James Hearn missed both conversion shots and Caldy were quickly back in the game themselves when setting up a driving maul move after winning line-out ball, flanker Stuart Cross credited with scoring - much to Mitchell's displeasure.
Stourbridge were soon back in the ascendency, Mukarati scoring from an identical move to his opening try on 27 minutes.
Six minutes later, Stourbridge had sealed the all-important bonus point try, scrum half Pete White following up to gather and race over, with Hearn finally getting a conversion on target.
At 22-5 Stourbridge looked well set, but Caldy, who are a solid if not spectacular unit, shocked the Stourton Park side with a second try, No.8 Craig Smithson peeling off the back of a driving maul to score with fly half Rich Vasey firing over the conversion to make the score 22-12.
Caldy thought they were still in the game at this point, but that notion disappeared within a matter of seconds as Stefan Shillingford scythed his way through a fragile defence to secure a fifth try straight from the restart, Hearn converting with the last act of the half to make it 29-12 in Stourbridge's favour.
Any prospects of Caldy getting themselves back into the game were completely obliterated on 54 minutes when they had foolish replacement tight head prop Derek Salisbury sent off for violent conduct after throwing a series of punches at a Stourbridge player trapped at the bottom of a ruck.
From that point, it was just a question of how many Stourbridge would win by.
Consequently, because of Salisbury's indiscipline, the remainder of the game had to be played with uncontested scrums - which probably suited Caldy.
But they couldn't prevent Stourbridge from adding three further tries through Hearn, replacement scrum half Sione Tuipulotu and Farrington, Hearn landing one more conversion.
A tougher task awaits this Saturday when Stourbridge travel to Preston - a side with a proud home record.
Mitchell insists there can be no slip-ups.
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