Stoneygate’s first visiting opponent to Uppingham this season was
Aylestone Athletic, an old foe who had beaten Gate in the final of the
President’s Cup at the end of last season.
Aylestone started the match much the stronger side, despite good early
field position from Gate, Ath held out and marched back down field
into Gate territory. The travelling side continued their early
dominance scoring two converted tries within the first 10 minutes. The
first try came after multiple phases of picking and driving from the
forwards, good recycling of the ball and close control paid off with
Aylestone crossing the line. The second try was a very different
effort, this time the Ath back line linked up to cross in the corner.
Gate 0-14 Ath.
With the defeat in last season’s final very much at the forefront of
Stoneygate thoughts, the XV on the field fought back gallantly. Gate’s
first response was a try for skipper Will Cropper after a smart move
from the back of an attacking scrum. No.8 James Agar collected the
ball from the base and offloaded it to openside Jaryd Taylor, who, in
the tackle managed to lift the ball back in to the hands of the
oncoming scrum-half Cropper. Jack Clark converted to make it 7-14. A
second Gate try this time for Mike O’Keeffee again came after an
attacking scrum and in similar fashion to Aylestone’s opener, it was
the forwards showing neat interplay which resulted in the points. Conv
missed, Gate 12-14 Aylestone.
Before the half-time whistle the sides again exchanged points, a third
try for Ath followed by a penalty kick for Gate left the score, Gate
15-26 Aylestone at the break.
The second-half was a tale of fitness and desire! From the off,
Stoneygate proved the fitter of the two sides with a more expansive
game plan showing through and putting the visitors under increased
pressure. A first try for Gate for openside Jaryd Taylor and two
further penalties from fly-half Jack Clark saw the sides draw level at
26-26 with 20 minutes still to play. With the visitors visibly tiring
as the game drew to a close it was the accurate rugby shown by
Stoneygate which lead to what would be the match winning try! Again
the it was the back-row combination of Taylor and Agar who broke
through the Ath defence and eventually it was Agar who crossed the
line to score under the posts, Jack Clark with the conversion, 33-26.
In the dying moments of the match Aylestone did fight their way back
up-field for a try in the far corner but it was too wide out to seal a
draw as the conversion was missed. Gate avenging the defeat in last
seasons final with a comeback win, 33-31.
Gate No.8 James Agar was man of the match on the day with a fantastic
performance all over the park, topped off with the match winning try.
Stoneygate’s next fixture is this Saturday away at Ashby, kick-off
By Cillian Brugha.