SUFFOLK CHADACRE CUP
Stowmarket head coach Martin Barnard admitted this county cup semi-final nearly got away from them, but was relieved to see his team get over the winning line.
“We did not play fantastically well for a lot of the game but we played well enough in the end to do it,” he said of the result which sets up a home final against Mersea Island on March 17.
“Once we went through our phases we were fine but when we went wide it did not go so well.
“We tried a few combinations we had not tried before, so it was to be expected.”
Stowmarket centre Tom Crowe crossed the line in the opening five minutes for a try converted by Dan Garrard before league rivals Woodbridge pegged them back.
Stowmarket’s expansive and quick ruck game gave the Woodbridge defence a torrid time, but a lack of patience and execution saw them all too often try to force the play.
However, from a nine phase attack veteran second row Anthony Crowe passed to veteran hooker Brad James to crash over in the corner.
Woodbridge again rallied and forced their way down the pitch to take another well-deserved converted try, and while hooker James was cooling off in the sin bin, the half finished with Woodbridge holding a narrow 14-12 lead.
Woodbridge pulled further ahead with another try before Stowmarket then rallied to control the game with two well-taken penalties from Garrard.
But from another breakout Woodbridge were again able to score out wide.
But with 20 minutes remaining, Stowmarket dug deep and when skipper Joe Fifield scored out wide the gap was narrowed to a single point, before Garrard yet again converted to give the home side the lead.
Winger Nick Faliveno scored with Garrard again converting to see Stowmarket through.
The final score gave a somewhat flattering view of the game, and Stowmarket knew they had been in a very hard encounter.
Should the game beat the weather, London League Three Eastern Counties leaders Stowmarket will host third-placed Ely on Saturday (2.30pm) in a potentially pivotal game for both teams.