Poor first-half show seals Ionians' fate
HULL Ionians found league leaders Stourbridge too lively to control in the first half and went down 27-15 in National League Two North.
In the first half the hosts scored a crucial five tries, but in torrential rain Ionians closed the half with a try and were the better side after the break, deservedly the only team to score again.
Joe Sanders' work-rate earned him the man-of-the-match award in a game where the forwards had to make their mark on a pitch that had been covered in standing water just 24 hours earlier.
Coach Gary Pearce said: "We were outplayed for the first half by a more experienced team, but for the second half we came out a different side, got stuck in and the players delivered everything asked of them."
Hull Aero Club is the place for you! For information, for bookings or to buy a flight as a special gift, phone us or see our website at www.hullaeroclub.co.uk
Terms: Trial flying lessons, 2-seat aircraft, half-hour £75, hour £130; 4-seat aircraft, half-hour £90, hour £160.
Contact: 01964 770415
Valid until: Sunday, June 02 2013
Ionians can take pride in being the first team to keep Stourbridge below 30 points on their home ground, and look forward to the return match in April.
Ionians kicked off deep and low on the wet ground but the ball was kicked towering back, lost in the flood lights and allowed to bounce loose where Stourbridge pounced on it and with good support play sent scrum-half Peter White over in the first minute.
The restart saw Ionians attack off the line-out and when stopped illegally inches from the line Stourbridge collected a yellow card and Chris Reakes kicked the penalty against his old club.
Five minutes later, two penalties saw Ionians back in their 22 where Stour drove the line-out on but were finally well held, but spinning it wide saw centre Will Hurrell in space to score.
Kerry Wood stole a line-out for Ionians on their own 22 and good support took play to halfway. Then lost ball saw a quick counter attack and left wing James Hearn went clear to score.
Ionians took a yellow card for coming in the side but still kept their hosts out for 10 minutes until once again lost ball saw a quick counter attack finished by centre Gary Dipple.
Once again Stour kicked high and the wet ball was miss-fielded, allowing Will Hurrell to scamper in again, Ryan Caolan at last adding a goal, but they were never allowed to threaten the line again.
Ionians kept hold of the ball to close the half and a series of drives created the gap for Adam Thomas to dive in to make it 27-8 at the break.
The second half saw the rain get even heavier with the wind gusting across the pitch and it was Ionians who showed far more appetite for the game as they upped their work rate and took their hosts on.
Stour showed why they are unbeaten league leaders with a solid defence, but twice were driven back in a rolling maul for 30 metres as Ionians showed they could do it too.
On the hour, driving on off an attacking line-out on the 22, Ionians took play to the line where Sanders finally squeezed over to score, Reakes adding the conversion to complete the scoring.