Whitchurch make it through to rugby semi-finals

Reporter:

Neil Avery

RFU Intermediate Cup

Coalville 12, Whitchurch 57

A terrific attacking display in the second half saw Whitchurch brush aside Coalville 57-12 in the fourth round of RFU Intermediate Cup to reach the Midlands semi-finals.

The Leicestershire hosts had proved more than a match for the Reds in the first half, but the unbeaten Midlands Two West (North) high fliers turned on the style after the break to reel off a 12th successive win in all competitions this season.

“It was our best performance of the season, both attacking wise and defensively,” said coach Scott Sturdy.

“Coalville asked us quite a few questions in the first half, they dominated territory and possession.

“But in the second half we were fantastic, and it was nice to kick on and pass 50 points. We stepped up the tempo and really turned it on to score some excellent tries, all starting from our own half.”

Whitchurch ran in nine touchdowns in all, the first early on through prop Ian Gillespie after half a dozen phases, but it was Coalville who had most of the ball through their forwards.

A rolling maul saw them cross for a converted score to take the lead, but the visitors were back in front when 18-year-old second row James Ryder marked a man-of-the-match display with his first senior try, converted by Tom Skone.

Coalville, who themselves are going well in the Midlands Two East (North), continued to prove a handful, but we met by some solid defending.

And the Reds grabbed a crucial try right on half time to give themselves some breathing space when a series of quick tap penalties from deep ended with a try for centre George Cope, with Skone adding the extras for a 19-5 interval lead.

With the visitors ringing the changes in the second period, there was no way back for the home side once winger Skone off loaded to centre Henry Hockenhull to cross for his team’s fourth try, Skone converting.

Despite having flanker Jimmy Hockenhull sin binned, Whitchurch continued to call the tune, and another incisive break saw replacement fullback Josh Gorst race over, Matt Davies adding the conversion.

Gillespie then went over for his second touchdown to make it 38-5, before another well-worked move saw Joe Mullock go over at scrum half, Skone converting.

Matt Davies was the next to cross the whitewash, Skone again adding two more points before Coalville gained a consolation with their second try from a rolling maul.

However, the visitors had the last word when fly half Matt Davies went over for their ninth try of the game.

With the regional semi-finals not until January 20, the Reds now look to consolidate pole position in the Midlands Two West (North) in the coming weeks.

Leading the table by three points from arch rivals Crewe and Nantwich, they host Veseyans on Saturday as they chase an eighth straight victory in the league.

“We’ve got four games to go until Christmas, and it would be nice to get to the end of the year unbeaten as we’ve got a really tough January coming up,” added Sturdy.

Meanwhile, Whitchurch Seconds, who had no game in the Sale Sharks North West League division two (south), return to duty on Saturday at home to their Glossop counterparts.

Whitchurch Thirds also had a weekend off, and now visit fellow strugglers Winnington Park Thirds on Saturday as they bid to climb away from the basement regions in the North West League division four (south).

Email:

neil.avery

See full story in the Whitchurch Herald

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