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Mitch: This is our acid test
2:30pm Thursday 6th September 2012 in Stourbridge RFC
NEIL Mitchell believes Saturday’s derby showdown presents an acid test for the new-look Stourbridge side.
The Saxons director of rugby is well aware his side are favourites to claim victory in the first competitive meeting between the rivals for 12 years.
But with Stour’s team still finding its feet after a summer of upheaval, Mitchell believes DK may hold a key advantage in terms of team cohesion.
He said: “We have set our stall out with what we are trying to achieve this season but I think a challenge like this will measure what our team is about.
“DK have an advantage in that many of their players have been together in the same team for the past couple of seasons.
“They know how each other works and they are used to winning games.
“We probably have the edge in physicality but this is a huge opportunity for both sides.
“It’s a chance to show the rest of the league we mean business.”
Mitchell believes DK’s main threat will come from two men he knows well in player-coaches Jon Higgins and Pete Knight, who are both former Stourton Park favourites.
He said: “Jon is a fantastic playmaker and I have massive respect for him.
“Then you have Pete, who is the turnover king and has lost none of his abilities.
“Alongside them you have players like Stefan Shillingford and Matt Farrington, guys who can really hurt you and are at least equal to what I have got in my squad.
“You have to give DK enormous credit for what they have done in the past two seasons.
“Having games like Saturday is fantastic and I think whatever the final score, rugby will be the winner.”
James Rodley scored late on against Birmingham and Solihull Bees to ensure Stour claimed maximum bonus points with a 25-5 win in their opening National League Two North fixture last weekend.
More than 200 fans made the trip to cheer on the Saxons and Mitchell was pleased to start with a win.
He said: “After all the summer getting the guys together and getting prepared, it was great to start with a good result. We came away from there with a good feeling.”