For the first half an hour there was only one team in this game as Stow dominated all over the pitch. They were fired up from the very start, they were first to every ball and looked like they were on a mission as opposed to Wold who seemed unusually lethargic  and just not at the races at the start.

It only took Stow five minutes to open the scoring, after a long period of pressure in Wold’s twenty two. Wold had the ball and were going through some defensive phases and making good yards as they tried to battle their way away from their line, but a silly blind offload handed the ball to Stow who gratefully smashed their way back towards and over the Wold line for the opening try and the easy conversion gave them a seven point advantage.

A well taken long penalty for offside from Wold’s ten yard line saw that lead increase to ten points eight minutes later.

It was all Stowmarket and but for an overturned penalty in front of the Wold posts for someone lashing out with a boot, after the initial decision was awarded to Stow, they could have been a further three points in front right at the start of the second quarter.

The pattern of play continued as the Stow set piece dominated possession and on thirty four minutes they elected for a five meter scrum after a penalty, instead of an easy three point kick. It was a great decision as they shoved their way towards the Wold line and their No 8 had a relatively easy try at the back of the scrum wheeling round to his right to dive over, and with another easy conversion Stow lead by seventeen points without reply.

At this stage of the game, the gloomy weather fitted the mood of the Wold supporters as a big loss seemed on the cards, but strange things happen in sport.

Wold’s front row was rearranged with Chris Aldous moving from prop to hooker and young Henry Dalton coming on as prop. It was a game changing decision and the extra weight in the front row gave the Wold scrum an advantage as they began to more than hold their own from that moment on.

The Wold backs began to get some possession and territory, and when Cemil Duruk went over by the corner flag just before half time, it was a great psychological blow for the home side. Luke Wade’s conversion attempt from wide was straight but fell short against the strong wind directly in his face, but Wold were on the board and it was clear their tales had started to at last lift.

In under a minute of the restart , Wade this time with the wind behind him slotted a penalty from the Stow ten meter line and the 8–17 scoreline was looking better for the home side with a full thirty nine minutes left to play.

Wold continued to press and Wade at 10 was using the wind beautifully to keep territorial advantage with Wold, It was Wade again who put in an inch perfect cross kick from the right which the sprinting Josh Wallis caught and dived over for Wold’s second try wide on the left.  At 13–17 it was now a one try game after Wade’s conversion attempt narrowly missed and the home crowd began to seriously believe a Wold win was possible, as witnessed by the new ferocity of their vocal support.

The crowd were quietened for a brief moment however when Stow increased their lead by three points with a penalty from in front of the posts, for in at the side, but then came the pure magic of the last quarter of an hour.

From the restart after the Stow penalty kick, Wold stormed right down in the Stow 22 and were awarded a penalty almost in front of the posts. Ollie Carlstroem took matters in to his own hands with a quick tap and got nearly to the line before offloading to Zak Loader who bludgeoned his way over for a great try under the posts and with the conversion by Wade a formality the scores were now level at 20–20.

The game was now on a knife edge, and the atmosphere all around the pitch could have been cut with a knife as tension grew for both sets of supporters, with a possible win for Wold now definitely more than a feint possibility.

Both these well drilled teams knew the next score was vital and the temp.

Photos credit Linda Cayley


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