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Key pair missing for in-form 'Stoke
BASINGSTOKE RFC will have to do without two key players for Saturday’s London One South trip to Cobham (kick-off 3pm).
Fly-half Adam Davies, who has made such a good start to his career at Down Grange, has been ruled out until early December after suffering a broken hand, while full-back Ash Paterson will also miss this weekend’s game.
The double blow could be significant for ’Stoke – but director of rugby James Croker is convinced he has a strong enough squad to deal with Davies and Paterson’s absence.
“It’s one of those things,” he said. “Rugby is a contact sport and injuries are part and parcel of it. You just have to deal with them and I believe we have players who are more than capable of filling their boots.
“Adam has done well but we got a convincing win without him last week and hopefully that will continue. Jack Parsons played well on Saturday and he’s an absolutely fantastic guy to have coming in at fly-half.
“Gareth Dampies played at full-back for the second half of last week because we knew Ash was unavailable this week. He did well, while Alex Tindall replaced him on the wing and got a try.
“He is another young, talented player, which is great to see, and it shows our strength in depth.”
In addition to Davies and Paterson, Croker will have to do without winger Gareth Kelly, who made his comeback from injury for the club’s second string last week, scoring two tries but also pulling a hamstring.
However, scrum-half Jamie Fish will return after missing Saturday’s 49-15 win over Haywards Heath, while flanker Matt Horne is also available, giving Croker a pleasant selection headache in the back row.
’Stoke sit third in the table after winning their last four games – and they will be strong favourites to make it five in a row against a Cobham side who have lost their last three outings.
“Cobham have threats and we will not be taking them for granted,” Croker said. “They’ll be looking to improve having not done too well of late so we have to make sure we work hard defensively and take our opportunities.
“They have got some good players. They have a good No 8 and try to play at a high tempo, which hopefully will play into our hands.
“Cobham are a side who score a lot of points but leak them too. “They can play rugby so we will just concentrate on our defence. If we can stop them scoring then we should be able to go on and get the bonus point win that we want.”