Stockton had a youthful squad at Hartlepool Rovers with four seventeen year olds included.
And they were still very much in the match at 18-17 after twenty minutes through a pushover try from number eight Todd Highfield , converted by full back Jonny Horner who had already added a penalty before Rovers conceded a penalty try.
And then for the third time this season Stockton lost two players in quick succession , this time in one phase of play when Jonny Horner and winger Joe Hargreaves had to leave the field with an injured shoulder and a pulled hamstring respectively.
With backs replacement Rob Graham slotting in at full back this led to second row Jonny Cheetham having to play on the wing and Lewis Sutton coming on to make his first team debut in the back row.
Whether Stockton would have gone on to win the game will always be a matter for conjecture but the reshuffles certainy didnt help our cause and Rovers ran out winners in the end.
Another first team debutant who can be proud of his lively performance was 17 year old scrum half Josh Barker- Rayner .
Meanwhile not far away at a bitterly cold Mayfield Park our Saracens were taking on Hartlepool 2nds in the Candy cup.
With several key Saracens players missing, Hartlepool had the edge up front and dominated possession with their pick and drive tactics wich brought a try after 20 minutes . In the second half using the slope and wind Hartlepool pinned Saracens down for much of the game and scored three tries in quick succession, two when Stockton were down to 14 men for a yellow card .
It looked as if the floodgates might open but Saracens pulled themselves together and only conceded once more from a kick ahead to make the final score 22-0 to Hartlepool who deserved their victory. Many thanks to the Stocktonians players who stepped up and gave their all for the eighty minutes - effort could not be faulted.
Updated 20:40 - 9 Dec 2017 by Terry Wilson