Stowmarket outlast Woodbridge in a cup thriller
PUBLISHED: 14:46 26 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:46 26 February 2018
Eastern Counties Suffolk Chadacre Cup semi-final
Woodbridge Warriors 24
Stowmarket started perkily, keen to avenge two-time Cup winners Woodbridge on a sunny, gusty day at Chilton Fields, writes Simon Ballard.
Lively full-back Daniel Garrard grub kicked through and won a penalty. The resulting well-executed line-out fed centre Tom Crewe who scored within five minutes.
Stow kept up the pressure as No8 Nicolas Kegge and prop Brad James ran from deep, fly half Stuart Hill grubbed through and wing Nicholas Falavino ran diagonally.
In response, Woodbridge battered the five-metre line; wing Felix Kibble and flanker Matt Bowman challenged resulting in a missed penalty attempt.
The poor Stow drop out was pounced upon by Tim Johnson and Tom Edwards who fed centre Luke Wattam and put Jamie Smith over to score.
Stow came back through their forwards; wave after wave of pods battered the visitors defence until James scored wide.
Undeterred, Woodbridge’s fly-half JP Hart took territory and a line-out maul yielded a try for the indefatigable Bowman.
The game went more aerial in the second half despite swirly conditions; Woodbridge found a 5m line-out and the following maul, held up by flanker Jono Cooke let Bowman break to score his second try and put the Warriors in the ascendancy.
Penalties by Woodbridge let full back Garrard take six points in short order but the visitors also pressed, worked a penalty into the Stow 22, only to see Angus Clogg’s chip go too long.
As the game opened up Bowman and Wattam found space on the left and broke through for Wattam to score, and a 24-18 Woodbridge lead. Woodbridge must have felt confident but Stow found the energy to fight back with a series of danger-zone set pieces, relentlessly driven by forwards Kegge and James in particular.
Jo Fifield and James were held up before Fifield just made the whitewash to make it 25-24 when converted by Garrard.
The Warriors late response was plagued by poor handling and penalties, Garrard missed a three-pointer but it was wing Falavino who scored in the dying minutes and sealed a ticket for Stowmarket to the final against Mersea, who beat Halstead.