Midlands 1 West

Hereford 3

Whitchurch 10

Coach Scott Sturdy said Whitchurch’s victory at Hereford showed just how much the players “have grown as a team” after cementing third spot in the Midlands 1 West.

The Reds came from behind to clinch their 11th win in 15 outings at the Wyeside, and in the process avenged a narrow 20-17 loss at home back in September.

After turning the tables on Dudley Kingswinford 19-5 in their last outing before Christmas, the Edgeley Park maintained the momentum in their first action of 2019.

Next up is a potentially tricky clash at home to improving Longton on Saturday, with the Staffordshire visitors on a three-match winning run.

But Whitchurch can again take confidence from prevailing at Hereford, where they narrowly lost their last two trips.

The gutsy wins keeps them third, four points clear of Dudley Kingswinford in fourth, while Bromsgrove continue to set the pace 14 points above.

“It could have been more comfortable as I felt we left 10 points on the field,” he said. “We knew we would have to be disciplined in defence, not to give them any kickable penalties, and take our opportunities.

“The one penalty they scored did not go over, it skimmed the outside of post, but these things happen. I’m looking at it as a 10-0 win, so not to concede any points is impressive down there.

“We were well organised against a good backline, and defended with physicality.”

Hereford struck first with a penalty ruled to have gone over despite a video after the game showing it had drifted just wide.

The Reds were defending solidly, and spurned a chance to get their noses in front in the first half after failing to capitalise following pressure from a close range scrum.

But they made no mistake in the second period when Jake Rees touched down following a scrum pushover, with Danny Nicholas – who also missed a penalty – adding the extras.

Both sides were down to 14 men at the time, after Jack Furnvival was yellow carded along with a Hereford forward following an off-the-ball incident.

Tom Skone then extended the margin with a terrific penalty from just inside the home half, while he also went close with another long-range effort.

Whitchurch now turn their thoughts to entertaining Longton who, despite lying third bottom, are a different proposition these days.

The Reds ran out 37-12 winners earlier in the season, but Sturdy anticipates a far sterner test at Edgeley Park on Saturday.

Backs Joe Mullock and Mike Gardiner and hooker Steve Bloore will miss out, but Ryan Horton and Robbie Leighton could return.