A game of two half’s ends in a bleak start to January as Stafford go down fighting at Castlecroft.
Stafford travelled to the black country for the first league game of 2019 against second in the league Wolverhampton. The home side boasted an impressive record of 9 wins with only 2 losses for the season, with the reciprocal fixture ending in a 7-26 loss for Stafford. The visitors remained plagued by unavailability, with the latest setback being an injury during warm up reducing the match day squad to seventeen.
Stafford took the field with a substitutes bench of a single player and a second reserve in transit to bolster the squad. The first foray by Wolverhampton demonstrated their strength out wide as running rugby ripped through the defence for the first try of the afternoon. The Stafford response was immediate, crashing rugby pinning the home side onto their own line until Dan Mills carried defenders over for the equalising try. With the home side leaking penalties, Stafford monopolised the territory spending long spells in the opposition half but couldn’t convert the pressure into points. Absorbing all the pressure a Wolverhampton counter attack moved the ball wide and tore through Stafford for the second try of the afternoon. The visitors could have cut the deficit through a penalty but it flew wide of the posts. Stafford went into half time trailing by 12-5 but having dominated the territory for the majority of the game.
Wolverhampton came flying into the second half with two tries to build on their lead and grab the try bonus point. Injuries to Dan Mills and Callum Lennon emptied the Stafford substitutes bench and left the county town team with no cavalry to relieve tiring legs. Wolverhampton took full advantage through two further tries before a yellow card reduced them to fourteen for the remainder of the match. Stafford pressed hard for a consolation score but just failed to force their way across the elusive try line. A final home side try closed off the game as the referee’s whistle signalled the end of the match.