PERSHORE’S Social XV began 2017 in winning fashion with a 29-12 triumph at Stourbridge’s Stourton Park home.
The visitors prevailed on a cold and sticky afternoon, much to the delight of the travelling support, as a mixture of youth, experience and rugby returners proved the telling factor.
The sides were evenly matched in the opening stages as both sets of forwards made inroads into the opposition territory.
Conditions, however, did not help and continuity was not a vastly mentioned subject over the first quarter. The teams settled down a little and played some better stuff, with the old heads of Pershore forwards Graham Spiers and Marcus Fisher, as always, leading the way with the younger generation of James Kings and debutant Callum Andrews in hot pursuit.
Steve Holmes, installed at ten, controlled the runners, with a similar picture in the backs where Phil Sheppard and James Couper made the hard ground in tight and young speedsters Rory Chapman and Stef Staveley providing the finesse out wide.
An early score from Chapman settled the nerves before Sheppard capped a fine run with a try to put the Piddle Park outfit 10-0 up.
However, Stourbridge hit back with a well worked try of their own and it took some last-ditch Pershore defending to maintain their 10-5 lead at half time.
Following some deep breaths and a half time team talk, Pershore were able to exert their control in the second half with the introduction of even greater experience from the bench in the form of Nigel Jones and Ben Andrews, the latter forming a formidable father/son combination with Andrews the younger.
Luckily, the bench also had some further youth to introduce as the likes of Ash Nottingham, Steve Grosvenor and Stuart Rock added to the youth ranks.
A well worked move sent Chapman in for his second try, which was converted, and only last-ditch defending and the unpredictable bounce denied him a hat-trick.
Stourbridge kept themselves in the hunt with a breakaway converted try to peg the visitors back to 17-12.
However, a score from Holmes, converted by Rock, and a man of the match performance from Rugby Returner Brian Bennett ensured the away team stretched their advantage.
Good work continued from the Pershore engine room in which Steve Eades and Andy Portlock were ably assisted by veteran scrum half Anthony Perks.
All that remained was for the experienced heads to show the youngsters how to do it and a lung-busting 20-yard dash from Jones, once again converted by Rock, put the icing on the cake for Pershore.
Pershore Social’s next fixture is scheduled for Saturday, February 4 against Clee Hill at Piddle Park. Anyone wanting further information should contact Ben Andrews on 07779 927852 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.