OLD Halesonians let slender first half lead slip away to second half defeat at Stoke-on-Trent.

Halesonians started off strongly with a dominant scrum which lasted throughout the game and within a minute of kick off destroyed Stoke scrum to gain a penalty, kicked by Luke Fenton to go 0-3 up.

From the kick off, Old Halesonians enjoyed attacking play and repeated the performance of the scrum, resulting in a second penalty again kicked by Fenton to go 0-6 up.

Stoke started to get a bit of play resulting in Old Hales giving away the next penalty, successfully kicked by Stoke to make the score 3-6.

Old Hales remained dominant and had most of the possession but an error gave Stoke the opportunity to score the first try of the game and convert it to make the score 10-6.

Just before half time, Old Hales suffered two serious injuries, a broken wrist for Dan Smith, meaning he will miss the rest of the season and concussion to Andy Holloway, likely to finish his rugby career because of risk to his health.

The rest of the half was dominated by Old Hales who pushed over the Stoke scrum for Kieran Haynes to score a try, conversion missed to make the half time score 10-11.

After the restart, Stoke took advantage of the slope and scored two tries in quick succession, both converted to make the score 24-11.

Both sides then performed well, both attacking play and defending well but Old Hales started to give away penalties, one of which resulted in Stoke kicking to the corner and from the resulting line-out scored another try which was converted to make the score 31-11.

The game looked to be running away from Old Hales but they held their heads high and continued to attack resulting in a well worked try by flanker Brad Cogzell, converted by Luke Fenton to make the score 31-18.

Stoke started to gain momentum and before the end of the game managed to score another converted try to make the final score 38-18.

Head Coach James Angove said: "Given the two injuries we sustained today, along with unavailability due to both injury and life circumstances, we are now very short of players who have have first team experience.

"We will look to our supporting club teams where we have strength in depth to cover critical positions in our first team and we will look to gel these players into the first team in training this week ahead of our re-arranged game away at Ludlow on Saturday."

Report submitted by Old Halesonians