Joe Tait’s treble fires Stafford to victory
Stafford came out on top in the battle of the promoted sides to gain their first Midlands 2 West (North) success of the season.
An impressive first-half display paved the way for Stafford to see off Telford Hornets 25-17 at home with Joe Tait bagging a hat-trick of tries.
Both sides made the step up in standard at the end of last season with title winners Telford finding the early going tough as they remain at the foot of the table and still searching for their first point.
It was Telford who struck first with an unconverted try but that lead proved short-lived as the hosts hit back.
A free-flowing move was finished off by Tait to level the scores at 5-5.
Stafford then suffered a blow when winger Angus Lennon was forced off through injury but were soon celebrating another try.
Tom Dunn made the hard yards before Christian Stelian and Niko Laqeretabua juggled the ball between them down the pitch and then Callum Hoy powered over with Christian Stelian adding the conversion.
Telford responded and cut the deficit with an unconverted score only to be hit by two more home tries before half-time.
A scrum stolen against the head allowed scrum-half Tait to weave through for his second score of the afternoon.
Stafford maintained the pressure with Callum Lennon stealing a lineout to release the backs with Tait touching down again for his hat-trick, and the bonus point, to make it 22-10.
Telford kept battling away and moved to within five points with a converted try.
Some solid Stafford defending kept the visitors at bay and it was the hosts who rounded the scoring off with a penalty.
Walsall’s testing start to the season continued with a 37-17 reverse at Newcastle.
Injuries have added to Walsall’s problems during the early weeks of the campaign and they were forced to ring the changes again with six regulars sidelined. And there was no let up with Walsall forced to field all three of their replacements inside the opening quarter of the game due to further injuries to Nico Watkins, Elliot Clarke and then replacement Jon Ford.
This, however, should not detract from a good performance by Newcastle who struck first through flanker Gareth Parry.
The visitors responded with Roger Weston slotting home a penalty before the home side replied with a three-pointer of their own.
Walsall responded and an excellent run by Hal Gozukucuk teed-up Jamie Hickman for a try near the posts with Weston adding the conversion.
Walsall’s lead was short-lived with Luke Gross landing a penalty and then converting a try by Harry Jones. Newcastle scored three more tries through Dave Ellerton, Jones and Liam Bailey in the second half.
Walsall claimed scored the last try of the day when Roger Weston went over.
Wolverhampton put in a battling display away to high-flying Tamworth.
But the Castlecroft men, who were looking to build on last week’s 41-5 win over Crewe, were eventually edged out 22-18.