Drifters 16 Stow 21
Southern Counties North
AFTER two bad defeats and the Christmas break, Stow managed to get back on the straight and narrow with a win at Drifters on Saturday.
A win is a win even if a narrow one, although Stow should have won by 20 points, but having donated at least ten points to their opponents they ended the game defending.
Drifters elected to play with the wind at their backs in the first half and after much early pressure were awarded a penalty to take the lead after eight minutes.
The Stow forwards were under pressure in the tight but started to put their loose game together and powered into the Drifters’ half with slick handling, releasing the backs at the right moment, who put in James Holmes for the opening try to give Stow a 7-3 advantage.
Drifters kicked well with the wind and camped in the Stow 22 and earned a penalty to reduce the arrears to 7-6.
The game was now more open and for a period of times both teams threatened.
After 30 minutes Stow continued donating as a charged down kick resulted in a Drifters try between the posts, giving the home team a 13-7 lead, followed by another Stow donation in the shape of a missed penalty.
Still playing against the wind and having moved through about eight phases, Stow scored the try of the match – again through Holmes two minutes before half time – to start the second half with the wind in their favour and a one-point advantage at 14-13.
Five minutes into the second period, the Stow forwards were giving the Drifters defence a torrid time and they fed in Holmes again for his hat-trick try to open a 21-13 lead and Stow appeared to think they had got the match won.
However, on the hour mark Drifters added three points to move within a try of Stow and they pressurised strongly until the end, but the Stow defence remained strong and they maintained their five-point lead until the final whistle.
Whilst still in the showers, the Stow players learnt that High Wycombe had lost and Stow are now back at the top of the division, although only two points separate the top four.
Stow host second placed High Wycombe in a key match on Saturday.