A SECOND half collapse saw Whitchurch Rugby Club walk away empty handed last weekend, as they were beaten 10-7 away from home to Stoke.

Stoke started the game top of the league, however Whitchurch were confident they could spoil the party having taken the points home and away last year.

From the kick off Whitchurch surged forward, a theme of the afternoon but as a result of the poor weather there were more handling errors than usual, which resulted in numerous scrums.

But the Reds’ front row were dominant and they utilised the scrum as much as possible.

After possession changed hands regularly in the middle of the park Whitchurch were eventually award a penalty for sustained pressure and opted to kick to the corner.

Securing the line out, the pack surged towards the line and Jake Bailey was able to dot down for his first try of the season 23 minutes in.

The deadlock was broken and the try was converted to put the visitors seven points up, a score which lasted until half time.

Stoke came back in the second half, firstly with a penalty which was inches inside the post to give the home team their first points.

Following a turnover three minutes later, Stoke were able to pounce on the ball in the dead ball area to make it 10-7 to Stoke, with 25 minutes to play.

Whitchurch composed themselves from this point and fought hard to get back in the game and had numerous chances to win the game, however basic handling errors or wrong decisions were made and they were not able to capitalise.

Jonathan Cope, club captain, summed up the game, saying: “A few silly mistakes cost us early in the second half but I can’t fault the efforts of the team, digging deep in the final stages of the game and coming so close to getting the result today.”

Head coach Scott Sturdy expressed a similar sentiment, saying: “Extremely close game that was played in challenging conditions that we came out on the wrong side off.

“These games are great to win and awful to lose and it’ll be important to respond next week with a big performance and a win.”

Whitchurch host Stourbridge next weekend at Edgeley park, with kick off at 2.15pm.

Also, it is the annual ex-captain lunch this Saturday. Everyone is welcome and contact the club if you would like to attend.

Meanwhile Whitchurch Seconds were also in action on Saturday, narrowly losing 10-24 at home to Birkenhead Park.

The Edgeley Road men fought all the way but could not finish off some good moves, with Dan Hunt scoring their only try, which was converted by Owen Stephens.

Stephens also scored a penalty but the Birkenhead side were just too strong.

Captain Mike Richardson said that his side had done all they could and were getting stronger by the week with more players returning and added that he is looking forward to having a full strength team next week.