Midland League 2 West (North)

Whitchurch 25 Veseyans 21

High fliers Whitchurch remain three points clear at the top of the Midlands Two West (North) after extending their 100 per cent record with a hard-fought 25-21 victory over Veseyans at Edgeley Park.

The Reds have now won all eight league games - as well as five in cup competitions - but their perfect start was under threat from their spirited visitors from Walsall.

The league leaders trailed 21-20 with eight minutes left, and were down to 14 players, but replacement fullback Josh Gorst went over for a crucial try to maintain the team’s winning streak.

The Reds started slowly, falling behind to a penalty, but then enjoyed a spell of pressure that saw them awarded a penalty try after Veseyans had collapsed a scrum on three occasions when shunted back towards the line.

The visitors were somewhat fortunate not to pick up a yellow card in the process, and to add to Whitchurch’s frustration, their flanker James Hockenhull was sin-binned for 10 minutes following persistent infringements.

Veseyans, with four players making their debuts, took advantage of the extra man to force their way over for a converted try to lead 10-7.

The encounter entered a scrappy phase, but the Reds raised the tempo with a terrific try from right to left with the ball going through numerous hands before wing Joe Mullock bounced off his marker before passing over to centre Henry Hockenhull to cross in the corner.

With the conversion from wide out missed, Whitchurch went in for the half time interval with a slender 12-10 advantage, which was increased soon after by a penalty from Tom Skone.

Veseyans hit back with a penalty themselves, but the home side showed their pace in the backs with another flowing try that saw Skone race over in the corner for a 20-13 lead.

A skirmish then saw the Veseyans hooker yellow carded for throwing a punch, while James Hockenhull was unfortunate to pick up his second yellow of the match for intervening in the melee.

That meant a red card for the flanker to leave Whitchurch down to 14 men for the last 25 minutes.

The visitors capitalised to take the lead by one point, first crossing for an unconverted try from another maul before kicking a penalty to give themselves a real chance of victory.

But the Reds showed their winning mentality to get their noses back in front when another terrific flowing move from right to left ended with Gorst crossing the whitewash after linking with Matt Davies.

That was how the scoring stayed as the hosts saw out the last few moments to remain three points clear of arch rivals Crewe and Nantwich.

n Meanwhile, Whitchurch Seconds lost ground in the Sale Sharks North West League division two (south) after being edged out 8-7 at home to high flying Glossop Seconds

Their third successive defeat left them eighth in the table and keen to get back to winning ways away to Holmes Chapel on Saturday

n Whitchurch Thirds were left kicking their heels as their trip to fellow strugglers Winnington Park Thirds in the North West League division four (south) was postponed. They are home to Moore on Saturday.