Slow starting Stoneygate RFC suffer rare defeat

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A late surge from Stoneygate was not enough to stop them dropping to a rare 38-24 defeat to Belgrave 2nds on Saturday.

A wet and windy afternoon saw Stoneygate travel to Belgrave for just their fifth league match of the season on the Leicestershire Merit table C.

Gate, looking to continue their undefeated start to the season got off to a slow start, it was the home side who took the early initiative and dominated possession. Belgrave, playing with a strong wind on their backs camped in the Stoneygate 22 and played attractive rugby with a nice off-loading game and quick forward inter-play. It was hardly rugby conducive to the conditions, but Belgrave used it to their advantage.

The early pressure paid off as Belgrave scored two tries in quick succession to race to a lead of 12-0 after only 10 minutes.

As Belgrave continued to pile on the pressure, Stoneygate fly-half Jack Clark took a knee to the head whilst making a tackle which meant he was forced from the field and unable to return to the action for concussion safety reasons.

Moments later following Clark’s departure, Belgrave again crossed the line to extend their lead to 17-0. Conversions were in short supply throughout the day due to the ferocious wind blowing through Leicester.

Stoneygate managed to get themselves back in to the match with some expansive rugby at the mid-way point of the first-half. The team as a whole came together and forced their way through the Belgrave defence and the wind to make their first visit to the home side’s 22. Eventually the pressure paid off and following a well set driving maul, Tom Cox crossed for Gate’s first try of the match.

Either-side of half-time, Belgrave extended their lead with two further tries, sticking to the tried and tested method of accurate inter-play between the forwards. Just five minutes in to the second-half, the home side were 31-5 to the good.

As the half wore on, the match evened out, the home side boasting a comfortable lead and playing against the conditions resulted in a more level contest. The tie was then swung the way of the visitors as Belgrave’s hooker was sin-binned with just 10 minutes remaining, meaning the home team would finish the match with just 14 men.

In the final 10 minutes, Stoneygate threw all structure out of the window and played a style of rugby more suited to Hong Kong 7s than a wet and windy day in Leicester

The loose running style resulted in three tries for the visitors, Matt Isherwood, James Keywood and Jack Storry all finishing off some really attractive play. The stand-out try came from a storming run down the right wing by second-row Phil Beech resulting in Keywood’s touch down. Henry Bridgwood adding the extras.

Gate return to league action on Saturday, December 12 at home in Uppingham.