COACH Geoff Roberts was left to rue the weather as Sedgley Tigers got stuck in the mud against Stourbridge on Saturday.

Heavy rain and atrocious conditions underfoot saw the Park Lane outfit slip to their first home defeat of the season in the 24-19 reverse.

Outside half Steve Collins scored all of Sedgley's points but with leaders Macclesfield sneaking a win at Harrogate, the Tigers lost ground on the National League Division Two North pacesetters at the top of the table.

"It was a mud bath from beginning to end, easily the worst conditions we've experienced this season," said Roberts.

"It wasn't a day for fast open rugby so every chance we got we took the points with Steve kicking at goal as the rain and slippery surface made it impossible to play our normal game.

"It was difficult to stay upright, let alone hold on to the ball so simple passing proved difficult and lineouts were also a bit of a lottery.

"It was just an error-strewn, loose ball display. We just couldn't build phases in that sort of weather.

"Having one back line stronger than the other doesn't make the slightest difference because it's hard to control the game if you can't control the ball.

"It becomes a game of chance rather than about skill and in many ways it suits the underdog because there is always the chance they'll win."

With third-placed Caldy also losing at Sandal, the Tigers maintained the seven-point gap below them but are now six points adrift of leaders Macclesfield with the title contenders set to meet at Priory Park early next month.

"Being in the top two is the most important thing at this stage of the season as there is so much to play for," said Roberts.

"It would be good if we could pull off a win at Macclesfield in a couple of week's time, otherwise we just have to wait for them to slip up somewhere else."

Stourbridge took the lead with a Joseph Heatley try on six minutes, which was converted by outside half Christopher Scott.

Sedgley replied with a Collins penalty two minutes later but a Connor Nicholls try eased the visitors further in front. Scott again added the conversion and a penalty as Stourbridge led 17-3.

A penalty try and another Collins conversion reduced the arrears to 17-10 at the break.

Sedgley took the game to the visitors early in the second period with Collins kicking two penalties with the score delicately poised at 17-16.

And despite the number 10 scoring his fourth penalty of the game in the final minute a second try from Heatley and Scott's conversion helped the visitors clinch the win.

"I felt confident at half time that we would turn around and make a comeback," said Roberts.

"We had a strong bench and I thought we would win it convincingly like we did against Huddersfield.

"But we were never in front in the game, which always makes it difficult.

"If you have the lead you can shut the game down a lot more but when you are chasing, like we were for much of the game, you've got to try to play.

"And in those conditions play just created the mistakes."

The Tigers face a trip to Chester on Saturday, with Roberts weary of the ninth-placed side despite their indifferent form this season.

"They beat us at home last season and although we did win the away fixture fairly convincingly we won't be underestimating them," he said.

"I think league wise they were in a better position last year but nevertheless it will be a tough day out.

"It is very winnable as long as we don't have conditions like we did last weekend."