Midlands Two West (South)
Nuneaton Old Edwardians 16-31 Stratford-upon-Avon
STRATFORD chalked up their tenth win in a row with an emphatic 31-16 victory over previously unbeaten Nuneaton Old Edwardians at Weddington Road on Saturday.
The weather seemed keen to feature heavily during the open exchanges with a few unforced errors taking the momentum out of the game.
Stratford looked strong on the ball, but it became evident the hosts shared a similar attacking ethos.
Through a strong break and interplay from the Nuneaton back three, the hosts were able to capitalise on a quick ruck and barrelled over near to the corner flag.
The conversion was missed.
The momentum remained with the hosts for large sections of the first half, but the outstanding Stratford defence stood firm.
Some dominant and bone crunching hits from Sam Kirby, Dan Dunmore and Angus Wightman made Nuneaton re-think their attack and revert to an attritional kicking game.
Nathan Geekie continued to punish any errors and scored three first half penalties to see out the half.
The second half started where the first finished, with the metronomic boot of Geekie punishing penalty errors and keeping the scoreboard moving, but it was his out of hand kicking that would provide a more just reward.
A strong turn over in the Stratford 22 by the outstanding Dunmore threw the desperate Nuneaton attack into a sprawling defence and a combination of the brothers Matt and Callum Cook and Dan Whitby took the Black and Whites close to the line.
Angus Wightman, to whom Nuneaton simply had no answer, showed his strength and scored Stratford’s first try, with Geekie converting leaving the Black and Whites 19-11 ahead.
Cracks began to appear in the hosts’ defence and discipline with two yellow cards for cynical play, one of which prevented a certain try.
With play restarting, Wightman again showed his dominance and hacked through a loose ball, outpacing all the red shirts and touching down much to the delight of the travelling support.
With Stratford now the dominant team and Nuneaton down to 13, the game had the feel of a boxer trying to survive the 12th round.
Nuneaton failed to contain the now rampant Stratford centres and Jack Young smashed through the defence and finished stylishly.
Geekie added the extras to put Stratford 31-11 ahead.
Stratford, knowing the victory was safe, went all out for a fourth try, but it wasn’t to be.
Credit must go to Nuneaton who regathered their composure and with the returning players, finished the game with a consolation try from their deserving front row.
Stratford, who are now eight points clear at the top of the table, go on their festive break from league fixtures before returning to action on Saturday, 4th January when they make the trip to fifth-placed Old Laurentians (2.15pm kick-off).