Stoneygate arrived at the Leicester University playing fields in Oadby, Leicester as leaders of Leicestershire League Division Two to play second placed Leicester Medics and it was the hosts who ran out 29-17 winners in tightly fought encounter.
Conditions were dry but there was a strong wind and distinct slope which favoured Leicester Medics in the first half and they immediately took advantage by moving into a 14 point lead within four minutes of the start.
In reality, Stoneygate never really recovered from this slow start but they eventually started to come to terms with the conditions to put pressure on the Medics through a series of plays involving rolling mauls and close interplay but the Medics defence held out.
Disappointedly, Stoneygate then conceded a penalty in front of their posts to go 17-0 down half-way through the first half. However, for the remainder of the half Stoneygate pressed hard resulting in the Medics lock being yellow carded for infringing as Gate pressed the Medics’ line. ‘
Stoneygate pressed the main advantage when flanker Simon Queenborough went over in the corner to take the half-time score to 17-5.
With the conditions in their favour in the second period Stoneygate immediately pressed and were camped in the Medics 22 for almost 15 minutes.
The pressure finally told with Stoneygate being awarded a penalty try for another infringement as the Gate pack were rolling towards the try line.
Tom Archer converted to take the score to 17-12. It was while pressing to draw level and trying to make an overlap tell that a Gate pass was intercepted and the Medics’ centre sprinted the length of the pitch to score under the posts despite being caught on the line. This made it 24-12 with 20 minutes still left to play.
Stoneygate continued to battle and were rewarded when fullback Will Jameson went over in the corner to take the score to 24-17 with 12 minutes to go.
But just as they closed the gap Gate lost concentration during a rare Medics foray into their 22 and allowed the them space on the blindside to go in at the corner to take the score to 29-17 which is how the game finished.
While, Stoneygate will be disappointed in the result they know that they were beaten by a better side on the day.
They still remain stop of the league by one point but they will now need to regroup and get all their squad back to fitness and fully available for the next league game in two weeks’ time – the exciting local derby against Oakham Second XV.
In the meantime the next game for Stoneygate is home at UCC against London side, Belsize Park.