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By Jamie Arrowsmith Tuesday 22 January 2013 Updated: 28/01 16:33
Stourbridge 12 Bromsgrove 21
National Two North
BROMSGROVE beat the big freeze to record their best result of the season on Saturday when ending runaway leaders Stourbridge's proud 100 per cent record.
Supporters of both sides could have been forgiven for being surprised that the game went ahead, though it was credit to 100 volunteers from the home side that it did, and they could also be forgiven for being surprised at the final result given Stourbridge had won all 18 of their league starts to date, a record which sees them sitting 19 points clear at the top of the table.
It was the visitors who looked like the form team in the early stages, camping themselves on the home line as they retained possession well.
Their efforts were duly rewarded in the fifth minute when they showed great strength to outmuscle the formidable Stourbridge pack to drive the excellent Chris MacGregor over for a try which was well converted by John Critchlow.
The next 15 minutes proved that the visitors, who entertain Leicester Lions tomorrow (2.15pm), were up for the challenge and the initial score was no fluke as they refused to let Stourbridge take the initiative and went on to add to their tally with Critchlow's penalty after 20 minutes.
That did prompt a response as the big home pack started putting a bit of pressure on, testing Town's magnificent defence which started to crack a little when Steve Blackburn was yellow carded.
The hosts eventually put their first points on the board when a clever inside pass put Will Hurrell over by the posts, Caolan Ryan added the extras.
Was that going to be the key moment that made Bromsgrove fold? Not if the visitors had anything to do with it.
Once again they forced Stourbridge on to the back foot and the pressure began to tell on the hosts as they had Rob Hurrell carded after 35 minutes.
Bromsgrove took full advantage to extend their lead as half time approached with Warren Oliver going over in the corner, followed by another Critchlow penalty to make it 18-7 as the players left the field.
Back to full strength for the start of the second half, Stourbridge scored their second try of the game after two minutes when Drew Harper went over from close range but the relatively simple conversion was missed.
The second half was keenly contested with both defences generally on top. Both sides had opportunities but there always seemed to be someone there to bring the move to a halt.
Town were well marshalled by the returning Aaron Higgins at scrum half and both Tom Millen and Olly Bache relished the challenge of returning to their old club.
Chris Morgan, as ever, punched above his weight and was eventually replaced by Gino Belmonte who had his best 20 minutes for the club.
Town extended their lead on 60 minutes when replacement fly half Richard Mahony kicked a good penalty and frustration was clearly beginning to grow for the hosts as Bromsgrove refused to run out of steam.
With a two-score cushion giving them breathing space, Bromsgrove remained solid until the end, leaving the home fans stunned, but magnanimous, as the final whistle sounded.
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