Whitchurch coach Sturdy looking to maintain form after enforced weekend off

Reporter:

Barrie White

Whitchurch put their winning form to the test in Saturday’s top-of-the-table showdown at home to Spartans in the Midlands Two West (North).

The Reds have hit the ground running this season, reeling off three straight wins to move top of the table – one point ahead of this weekend’s visitors from Tamworth who also unbeaten in the league.

It may still be early days, but coach Scott Sturdy is under no illusion about the importance of this weekend’s tussle.

His side can go into the encounter in good heart after notching five victories in all competitions, the most recent being a bonus-point 34-8 success away to arch rivals Crewe and Nantwich.

Second-placed Spartans will want to bounce back after suffering a first defeat of the season when downed 27-15 at West Bridgford in last weekend’s RFU Intermediate Cup.

Whitchurch themselves were frustrated after being handed a walkover in the same competition after Derbyshire side Matlock were unable to fulfil the fixture because of a lack of front-row forwards.

Without any action, they will be anxious to carry on from where they left off against Crewee.

Sturdy anticipates a stern test, particularly with three of his forwards – second rows Tom Hollins and Matt Owen and captain Jake Rees – likely to be unavailable.

“It was disappointing to have no game last weekend,” he said.

“To sit out was frustrating, as we want to keep playing and keep the momentum going. But it is what is and we now have to focus on Saturday, which is a massive game for us.

“If we can get a five-point win, it will put us apart from the rest of the league – but it will be tough as Spartans have also won three from three.

“They may have lost last week in the cup, but I don’t read too much into other teams’ results as we don’t know the circumstances.”

Sturdy added: “We played well against Crewe and Nantwich last time out, but I feel we still have got another gear to find.

“If we turn up and put in a performance that we are capable of, then we should be okay. But we have to play to a high level week in week out.”

While the Reds could be without some of their forwards, they have an abundance of options in the backs.

n Whitchurch’s second string got back on track in the North West League division two (south) with a 19-5 victory at Capenhurst to move up to fifth in the table.

With the first team without a game, backs Danny Nicholas and Ryan Horton got a chance for a run out after returning from injuries.

They have no game this weekend before tackling New Brighton Seconds the following Saturday.

n Fortunes are looking up for the third team who moved up to eighth in the North West League division four (south) with a 58-7 hammering of Oswestry Seconds.

n Meanwhile, the Colts notched their first away win of the season when prevailing 30-17 at Broughton Park

Captain Ed Clowes is leading by example, taking his tally to seven tries from four outings.

Email:

barrie.white@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Whitchurch Herald

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