Halifax 10 Stourbridge 34

HALIFAX were relegated by this defeat despite showing plenty of resilience and determination against the promotion hopefuls.

In the difficult conditions, both sides made mistakes before Stourbridge made use of the wind to gain position in the Halifax 22.

A series of mistakes by the home side forced them to defend strongly, but their resistance was broken when the visitors' rolling maul ended with No 8 Duncan White touching down for a try, converted by Ali Bessington.

Straight from the restart, Halifax hit back when their weakened and much lighter pack caused Stourbridge to panic under pressure, lock Richard Brown being on hand to pounce and score a try, which Joe Knowles converted.

This score encouraged the home side and Stourbridge had to work hard to defend. However, against the run of play, a harmless looking counter-attack led to the visitors' second try when lock Ben Hughes ran past Halifax wing Dave Hall to score. Although Bressington missed the conversion, he added a penalty when Halifax were caught offside.

Halifax responded well, and again forced Stourbridge on to the defensive. Fly-half Iain Gordon made a good break, but the chance was lost.

Stourbridge opened strongly at the start of the second half, but the Halifax defence prevailed. After centre Adam Billig made a good run for the visitors, it took a fine tackle from winger Gareth Brear to stop him scoring, but Stourbridge remained on the offensive, and from a lineout, hooker Ben Gerry was driven over to score his side's third try. Bressington converted.

Halifax then forced Stourbridge on to the back foot, which allowed Joe Knowles to kick a penalty, but they could not sustain their effort, and play returned to the their half.

After Stourbridge were held up on the line, more pressure led to a rolling maul, with White scoring his second try and his side's bonus point fourth try. Bressington converted.

Halifax continued to battle but the power of the Stourbridge pack took its toll in the closing minutes. Replacement flanker Scott Witcomb was driven over from another driving maul with Bressington converting.

Halifax: Knowles, Hall D (Endersby 73), Marns, McGee, Brear, Gordon, Dillon (Bradley 71), Blades, Kay, Jenkins (Saparamadu 74), Brown, Harrison, Townsend, Hall, Lewis.

Stourbridge: Hall J, Bressington, Billig, Morris, Freeman, Lavery (Petty 26), Pointon, Rowlands, Gerry, Tideswell (Oliver 63), Hughes (Homer 65), Muldowney, Knight (Witcomb 61), Jordan, White.

Referee: R Kelly (RFU).