Stonegate’s first visiting opponent to Uppingham this season was Aylestone Athletic, an old foe who had
beaten Gate in the final of the President’s Cup at the end of last season.
Aylestone started the match much the stronger side, despite good early field position from Gate, Ath held
out and marched back down field into Gate territory. The travelling side continued their early dominance
scoring two converted tries within the first 10 minutes. The first try came after multiple phases of picking
and driving from the forwards, good recycling of the ball and close control paid off with Aylestone crossing
the line. The second try was a very different effort, this time the Ath back line linked up to cross in the
corner. Gate 0-14 Ath.
With the defeat in last season’s final very much at the forefront of Stoneygate thoughts, the XV on the field
fought back gallantly. Gate’s first response was a try for skipper Will Cropper after a smart move from the
back of an attacking scrum. No.8 James Agar collected the ball from the base and offloaded it to openside
Jaryd Taylor, who, in the tackle managed to lift the ball back in to the hands of the oncoming scrum-half
Cropper. Jack Clark converted to make it 7-14. A second Gate try this time for Mike O’Keeffe again came
after an attacking scrum and in similar fashion to Aylestone’s opener, it was the forwards showing neat
interplay which resulted in the points. Conv missed, Gate 12-14 Aylestone.Before the half-time whistle the
sides again exchanged points, a third try for Ath followed by a penalty kick for Gate left the score, Gate 15-
26 Aylestone at the break.
The second-half was a tale of fitness and desire! From the off, Stoneygate proved the fitter of the two sides
with a more expansive game plan showing through and putting the visitors under increased pressure. A
first try for Gate for openside Jaryd Taylor and two further penalties from fly-half Jack Clark saw the sides
draw level at26-26 with 20 minutes still to play. With the visitors visibly tiring as the game drew to a close
it was the accurate rugby shown Stoneygate which lead to what would be the match winning try! Again,
the it was the back-row combination of Taylor and Agar who broke through the Ath defence and eventually
it was Agar who crossed the line to score under the posts, Jack Clark with the conversion, 33-26.
In the dying moments of the match Aylestone did fight their way backup-field for a try in the far corner but
it was too wide out to seal a draw as the conversion was missed. Gate avenging the defeat in last season’s
final with a comeback win, 33-31.
Gate No.8 James Agar was man of the match on the day with a fantastic performance all over the park,
topped off with the match winning try.
Stoneygate’s next fixture is this Saturday away at Ashby, kick-off3pm.
By Cillian Brugha