Stockport produced an excellent display of fast, accurate counter attacking rugby in very good conditions, and secured 5 points with a 5-66 victory over the Salford club. De La Salle were by no means a walk over, frequently putting Stockport under pressure and requiring a very good defensive performance from their visitors to restrict them to only one try. All but the first of the Stockport tries came from runs out of their own half, with the home side unable to cope with the pace of the Stockport backs as 10 tries were scored to the one by De La Salle. There were 3 tries for centre Josh Schofiled, two each for fellow centre Rory Austin and full back Rhodri Mayor and one each for Dudley Southern, Matt King and Simon Green. Southern converted 8 of the tries to complete a victory, which has probably ensured Stockport are out of the relegation zone.
Stockport scored after only a minute from a scrum as De La Salle knock on at the kick off, the scrum was won cleanly and Tom Eaton gave a good pass to Austin, who ran in unopposed on a great line. There was a try for Schofield after a turnover and Stockport were 0-14 ahead after 5 minutes. The home side were held up over the Stockport line but were unable to take advantage of the scrum as Stockport defended well. Schofield got his second after an interception and good run by wing Taylor Hopkinson put him clear. Mayor got his first try as he collected a kick in his own half, kicked ahead and his fast chase allowed him to hack on and collect the ball over the try line for Stockport’s bonus point try after only 22 minutes. 10 minutes later Mayor added his second with a high class 50 metre jinking run through most of the home defence to score, Southern was again on target. With De La Salle down to 14 men, the yellow card being for a high tackle, another run by Mayor and several good phases set up a ruck out wide on the left and Southern squeezed in at the corner to make it 0-40 at half time.
The second half started well for Stockport as the ball was taken in their own 22 and quick passing got the ball to Green on the right and his pace took him 60 metres to score under the posts just 1 minute into the half. De La Salle exerted pressure for much of the second half and their try came a few minutes later after good recycling found them an overlap on Stockport’s left and their influential No 10 scored the try. Simon Green got a turnover in his own 22 as De La Salle pressed again and the ball went to Austin on the right and his break was supported by Schofield for his third try to make it 5-52. The kick off was taken by Callum Hibbs and moved to wing Matt King who ran in from his own half, out pacing the defenders to give Stockport a 5-59 lead as the game went into the final quarter. It was De La Salle who dominated the last 20 minutes but the Stockport defensive tackling denied them a score and the final word went to Austin as a turnover in the Stockport 22 and quick passing gave him a run from halfway for the final touch down converted by Southern for 5-66 at the final whistle.
Next week’s final game is at home to Penrith with Stockport in 8th place.