Stowmarket 3 Sudbury 17
STOWMARKET Rugby Club started their 50th birthday celebrations on Saturday by entertaining Sudbury — their first ever opponents — but did not get the result they were hoping for.
Stowmarket were bidding for a repeat performance of the last encounter, last season in the Suffolk Cup, when they beat Sudbury comprehensively, but it was not to be as the young Sudbury side played well to secure the win.
Playing in a strong, diagonal wind which made lineouts a lottery and place kicking very difficult, Sudbury had the advantage of the wind when kicking from hand in the first half and made good use of it.
Coupled with a well co-ordinated effort by the pack, this gave the Blues 80 per cent territory and 60 per cent possession to put Stow under pressure. Although they forced the home side to give away penalties, Sudbury failed to build a big lead.
Stowmarket were penalised for not binding at the scrum after three minutes and Tom Summers opted to kick 12 metres inside the half to give Sudbury an early lead.
Stowmarket defended well, but the penalty count was building and after 18 minutes the number three was given 10 minutes in the bin for the accumulation of infringements.
The home side lost a second man to the bin shortly after, but Sudbury failed to take advantage of this, having only a narrow lead at the half-time break.
Sudbury must have wondered whether the three-point lead would be enough with the conditions now favouring the home side, but they need not have worried.
The forwards worked hard and won the ball at the breakdowns and dominated the scrums, and the backs tackled well to stop any attacks out wide.
The breeze gave the home side a bit more territory in the second half but Sudbury’s team effort reduced their possession.
The first try came when the Sudbury forwards worked their way through several phases, picking and driving until Chris Whybrow dived over and Summers added the conversion.
The try seemed to wake Stow up and they drove deep into the Sudbury end for the first time in the half.
Sudbury had a man binned for taking the player out in the air and Stowmarket got their first points from the resulting kick.
Sudbury forwards were still dominating the scrums, and pushed Stow off their own ball in the 22, and then took their own scrum, driving forward through three quick passes for replacement Scott Harries to score. Tom Summers made the conversion with 35 minutes played.
Stowmarket made a final effort in the last five minutes but Sudbury held firm in a good team effort and young Fraser Beckett had a superb game, getting stuck in at every opportunity.
On Saturday Sudbury have another Suffolk derby when they entertain Newmarket at home, kick-off 3pm.