Staffs U20 –  ( 5 )     v      Cheshire U20 – ( 31 )

There is a myth in the round-ball game that the adjacent Stoke stadium is ‘notorious’ for its uncompromising, cold, wet and windy conditions. That same myth is now clearly confirmed by players (&spectators alike) of the more honourable game at Longton RUFC on Sunday 26/2/17, that was evidenced to produce constant swirling cold wind, and rain showers in exposed conditions to influence Cheshire’s first outing in this year’s National competiton.

By way of compensation, the warm hospitality by the Staffs RFU and Longton club readily welcomed their Cheshire counterparts in what was to prove a game played on a well prepared pitch, but in somewhat difficult conditions controlled by ‘Mother Nature’.

The young Cestrian’s however, after an initial period of adjustment, demonstrated their mettle, and set out their stall in executing the attack. After prolonged phases of play they remained camped within the Staffs half for all but a brief period of the game, the Hosts only breaching the defence on one foray. With a superb Four try display, with the ‘Trimmings’ (penalties / conversions) the final score of 5-31, had not only provided spectators with a quality rugby demonstration from two focussed and capable teams, but also displayed some noteworthy individual performances.

The Cheshire forwards dominated play, and made a timely release of their backs to challenge the mobile Staffs back line and fly half, who could not cope with the onslaught before them. There were still however mistakes and this young Cheshire team have already started to address those issues. In their first outing for this year’s National competition they gave good account, of themselves, their clubs and the County, but are now focused on the Lancashire fixture to be played at Lymm Rugby club on 19/3/17

Manager Ian Stanton said after the game, “After the initial shakedown the guys got into their stride and put their control over this game. We will work on the errors, but today the team worked well under pressure in somewhat difficult conditions”

Nick Jones