Dominant Stow continue on top

First published in Sport

UNBEATEN Stow-on-the-Wold Rugby Club moved four points clear at the top of the Berks/ Bucks and Oxon Premier Division with a 14-0 victory at Phoenix.

The Cotswold side have won all five league games so far and ended the 100 per cent record of their Taplow hosts.

Stow won the crucial toss in Buckinghamshire and took advantage of a strong northerly wind blowing down the slope.

The visitors found it difficult to break down their defence until they were awarded a penalty on 21 minutes in front of the posts 15 yards out.

Perhaps Phoenix thought Stow would kick the points but Hugo Griffiths had other ideas with quick thinking and an even swifter tap. Griffiths broke through three tackles and touched down for a seven-pointer converted by Nick Cafearo.

Stow’s forwards continued to win good breakdown ball and, with four minutes to half-time, fed the backs who handled well.

Jamie Holmes was released on a strong run to within two yards of the line and Stow’s forwards secured the ball.

Andrew Piercy drove over for a well-worked try which was well converted by Cafearo.

The wind continued in the second period against a big set of forwards but Stow took the game to their opponents and camped on their line for 10 minutes without scoring.

They conceded a penalty which took the game into their 22, leading to 13 minutes of severe pressure.

But Stow resisted with superb tackling and finally took a scrum against the head to clear their lines.

In the last quarter, Stow’s forwards dominated in the rucks and mauls, while the defence of the backs was heroic.

Stow were fitter, far more determined and finished the game much the stronger team.

They host basement boys Risborough on Saturday.

Sixth-placed Chipping Norton were also in winning form, triumphing 20-17 at Gosford All Blacks.

Matty King and Matt Dawson were among the try-scorers ahead of their home game with Harwell on Saturday.

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