Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We'll Be Stronger Next Time - Taylor; Rugby Union

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We'll Be Stronger Next Time - Taylor; Rugby Union

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW WILKINSON

STOCKTON stand-in skipper Steve Taylor reckons that missing out on promotion this season may not be a bad thing.

After his side showed their ability in a 36-17 derby win at Acklam, Taylor, who has taken over the captaincy from injured Mark Skirving, feels that the team will be better equipped next season for a tilt at Durham and North One honours.

"We were targeting promotion and we haven't got it. But we have a lot of young lads, so perhaps it's not the worst thing in the world not to go up," he said.

"Our coaches Paul Lee and Martin Howe are bringing new ideas in, and we will be a year more experienced next season."

Stockton roared into a 15-0 lead in the opening quarter of an hour, then lost their way a little, allowing Acklam back into it.

But the visitors had the edge and the pace and inventiveness of their backs punched holes in the Acklam defence.

"We made a very good a start, and looked good for a really big win. But maybe we started to believe our own press, and Acklam got right back into it," added Taylor.

"Overall I was a bit disappointed in our performance, and I think the margin reflected a bit unfairly on Acklam."

Joe Simpson raced clear to give Stockton a third-minute try after a rare error by Danny Ashton, whose pass was intercepted. Jeremy Good converted.

Good kicked a ninth-minute penalty, then Simon Crozier raced down the wing to score a try which made it 15-0. Crozier added his second try on 26 minutes, Good converting, but Roly Dixon jinked over for Acklam.

Acklam came out fired up for the second half and, within four minutes, skipper Steve Chambers pulled a try back, and Ashton's conversion cut the deficit to 10 points.

Stockton rallied and Chris Farrell's try was converted by Good, but Andrew Dalton responded with a try for Acklam. However, the home side's hopes were dashed for good when Tom Nelson went over and Good again converted.

Chambers said: "We were very disappointed at how we started. We wanted to go at Stockton from the off, but it didn't happen.

"It's hard to come back from conceding two tries that early on. We had to look at ourselves in the mirror at half-time and come out fighting. …

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