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Rugby Union: Dogged Lions use Stoop to conquer; RUGBY LIONS 13 STOURBRIDGE 11.

FOR once, Rugby won a game without playing at all well. Stourbridge were missing players but looked better organised and used the wind with more purpose.

But Lions will enjoy the win that takes them to mid-table security.

A slippery pitch made things difficult for both sides but Stourbridge's short kicks turned Lions' defence.

Two penalties finally took Rugby into the opposition half on ten minutes with tempers already fraying.

Rugby had to reorganise after losing skipper Jon Boden at fly-half to injury.

A big Lions attack saw several Stourbridge infringements, Sam Stoop's penalty eventually giving Lions the lead on 18 minutes.

Spencer Brown then broke free for Lloyd Warner's try to make it 8-0 two minutes later.

Stourbridge's pack showed real aggression but they were warned en masse by the referee for repeated technical offences.

Rugby stopped one big forward drive illegally but held the next more easily.

Stourbridge still dominated in terms of territory and Craig Jones kicked a 34th minute penalty for the visitors.

Stourbridge finished the half the stronger, and Neil Mitchell's try put them on level terms before he was yellow-carded.

On the restart, Jason Brittin scored after a sustained Lions attack but Jones cut the deficit to 13-11 on 46 minutes.

With a strong wind behind them, Lions now attacked relentlessly but their own errors let Stourbridge hold out.

Most of the game was now being played in the Stourbridge half but Lions did not use the conditions well and Stoop also missed a simple penalty.

After Dave Campton knocked on in touching down for Lions, Stourbridge made some counter-attacks that threatened Rugby's lead.

In the end, Rugby were very grateful to hold out for a narrow win they hardly deserved.

SCORERS: Rugby -tries: Lloyd Warner, Jason Brittin. Conversion: Sam Stoop. Penalty: Stoop.

Stourbridge -try: Neil Mitchell. Penalty: Craig Jones 2.

nRUNAWAY Zurich Premiership leaders Bath took revenge for their only defeat this season by subduing Newcastle 20-10 on a glue-pot pitch at the Recreation Ground.

Again, it was the boot of Olly Barkley that secured their eveleventh win in 12 games with five penalties in addition to a try from flanker Andy Beattie in the 70th minute.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Dec 21, 2003
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