FORMER Luctonians scrum-half Lucas Roy-Smith said he was relieved to ‘sneak a win’ in the Mortimer Park mud – and get the upper hand in his family feud.
Lucas’ twin-brother, Nathan, came on as a replacement for Luctonians, who hit back with a try from hooker Mike Jones in the last play of the match.
Stourbridge’s Lucas, who spent two seasons at Luctonians, said: “It was good to come back – I think we were lucky to get the win.
“There was quite a bit of banter with my brother about this game. “It was an interesting night last night but not a lot had been said during the week. I didn’t quite get hold of him.”
He added: “None of us were looking forward to this one – we thought it would be one of the hardest games of the year and it proved to be. We’re pleased to sneak a win out of it.”
Nathan, Luctonians’ replacement flanker, thought his twin-brother had played well.
“It was like being back at school when we were always playing against each other,” he said.
“Lucas played well but it’s easy for a nine when he’s got a pack like that who gave him an arm-chair ride. He still had to get the ball to 10 which wasn’t easy in the conditions.”
Runaway leaders Stourbridge are now 23 points clear at the top of National League Two North after prevailing in dreadful conditions last Saturday. It was their 19th win from 20 matches.
Luctonians, who are eig- hth, can take confidence from the spirited performance and travel to sixth-placed Leicester Lions this Saturday.
Luctonians had worked wonders to make the pitch playable last weekend and it passed an early morning inspection.
Both teams struggled to hold on to the ball in the slippery conditions and were covered from head-to-toe in mud throughout. Both teams changed their kits at half-time.
Luctonians trailed 6-0 at the break and paid the price for their failure to get on the scoreboard after dominating the first 15 minutes.
John Morris missed a difficult penalty and an attempted drop goal but referee Andrew Rawson was lenient after Stourbridge conceded six penalties in their own 22 in the first 10 minutes.
Luctonians’ director of rugby, Alex Davidson, said: “On any other day, there would have been a yellow card and a numerical advantage.
“If the card had come in the forwards, we’d have had a chance for a pushover scrum. That’s what I was looking for.
“We got to three metres from their line on three occasions and, with the kicking conditions, I don’t know whether John would have slotted them.”
Luctonians dominated possession and territory in the first-half as they attacked down the slope towards the clubhouse.
But Stourbridge fly-half Caolan Ryan slotted two penalties after two first-half indiscretions from the hosts.
Luctonians’ forwards coach Andy Douthwaite said: “We made a couple of errors deep in our territory and they ended up kicking six points which, in the context of the game, was going to be a challenge.”
The leaders turned the tables in the second-half as they used the slope and wind to their advantage but Luctonians’ defence was superb, with Rob Yeomans, Anthony Marfell and Chris Harris, all putting in vital tackles. The hosts’ resistance held out until 13 minutes from time.
Replacement Ejike Uzoigwe had only been on the pitch for a minute when he broke a tackle and ran through to swallow dive under the posts. Ryan slotted the simple conversion.
But Luctonians kept battling and, after Sione Tuipulotu was yellow-carded for an offence in the Stourbridge 22, they had the final word.
Jones squeezed his way over the line in the left-hand corner after a quick tap-penalty and Morris’ missed conversion attempt ended the match.
Davidson said: “Nathan Roy-Smith turned over the ball a few times and that’s why we ended up at the top end to score. “The gap between the two sides isn’t that great. “Stourbridge have obviously put together a very good squad with a lot of Championship and National One material. It’s nice to know that you’re within a score of them.”
MATCH FACTS Luctonians: Norris, Cheshire, Morris, Langdon, Rumsey, Prior (Burton, 51), Ollie Williams; Marfell (Jones, 72), Thomas (Street, 64), Yeomans, Harris, Davidson (Jaques, 46), Taylor, Ben James (Nathan Roy-Smith, 64), Hulland.
Stourbridge: Hearn, Bressington, Will Hurrell (Buckley, 51), Tuipulotu, Jarvis, Ryan, Lucas Roy-Smith (Harris, 74); George, Pearl (Garner, 61), Adams (Brown,55), Hughes, Rob Hurrell, Mukarati, Rodley (Uzoigwe, 66), Scott.
Referee: Andrew Rawson (RFU).
Yellow card: Stourbridge: Tuipulotu, 76 min.
Star man: Rob Yeomans (Luctonians).