Stockton made a quick start and after a handling move started by Steve Jones and involving most of the back line, centre Steve Tampin crossed for an early try converted by Jonny Horner. Better was to come on 15 minutes when a Horden handling move broke down and the ball was picked up by Jonny Horner who then raced 60metres to score a converted try.
After 20 minutes Horner was on the scoresheet again with a penalty, before Horden finally got a score with a penalty try after a series of Stockton infringements at a scrum. At this point this was the only facet of the game in which Horden were the superior side.
In the 15 minutes prior to halftime the game changed completely as Stockton suffered 2 injuries to front row players.firstly hooker Mark Conway suffered a broken nose and concussion in a collision,then his replacement Ben D’Cunha suffered what appeared to be a neck injury. As a result of this the game was held up for 45 minutes whilst Ben received treatment and the game was moved to the third team pitch.
The loss of both a front row player and a replacement meant that under RFU rules the game reverted to uncontested scrums, but Stockton had to revert to 14 players and keep 8 in the scrum at all times which meant that Horden always had an overlap at set plays.
In the second half Horden constantly applied pressure, but Stockton held out manfully until the 79th minute, when Horden crossed for the winning score.
This is purely a personal view, but in my opinion it leaves a bit of a bitter taste when a side complies with the rules at this level and plays with the required front row replacement, but when 2 front row players are injured and unable to return to the pitch, they are effectively penalised for more than half the game.
This is also no criticism of Horden who were eventually worthy winners of the game.
Ben D'Cunha was released from hospital later that evening and has suffered ligament damage to his neck which will keep him out for a month or so
Updated 07:06 - 16 Oct 2017 by Terry Wilson