DIRECTOR of rugby Tom Greevy has highlighted the opportunity for Stratford to use the next month’s fixtures to bring an exciting momentum into their season.
Only a dramatic fightback by Swindon denied the Black and Whites back-to-back wins in the South West One East last weekend after an enforced injury break to call for an ambulance for a Swindon player prompted a 15-minute delay.
Two tries from Dan Whitby and one from Scott Hardman had left Stratford 20-10 ahead but it finished 20-20 after a last-gasp try for the hosts.
Greevy, however, was upbeat about the performance and now Stratford, who lie 12th in the table, face teams just above them, starting with a home clash against 11th-place Trowbridge on Saturday (3pm).
Then follows a trip to Wimborne (tenth), a home fixture with Banbury (sixth) and then a visit to Beaconsfield (eighth).
“After the last couple of performances, the players’ tails are up,” said Greevy. “We have targeted the next few games to try to build some momentum.
“We could’ve, should’ve, come away with more points after playing teams higher up the league. But the next few games are against teams around us so we need to be positive. Hopefully we will be getting some players back fit because we have been under the cosh.”
Such was the dearth of players that Jo Cook and Charlie Powell had to sit on the bench despite still recovering from their injuries, though one positive was the debut of newcomer Dan Dunmore who was promoted from the Second XV.
But the Stratford squad’s willingness to battle through the pain barrier has been evident in the performances of prop Tom Stanley. He is still strapping himself up to play, despite facing a major knee ligament operation which will effectively end his season.
“It shows how the players have been prepared to put their bodies on the line,” said Greevy.
“Tom has done a tremendous job playing with a really serious knee problem. He needs a replacement anterior cruciate ligament but he’s still getting out onto the pitch. He has been struggling but he gets through the pain.
“It will be a loss to lose him when he goes for his operation but hopefully we will get a couple of props back available soon. They are like gold dust at the moment.”