Midlands 1 West

Moseley Oak 0

Whitchurch 17

Coach Scott Sturdy praised another defensive shutout as Whitchurch maintained their winning start to the year at Moseley Oak to keep a hold of third place.

The Reds ran out worthy winners in rain-soaked conditions, but again needed to show all their resilience to keep a clean sheet after being reduced to 13 men in the latter stages.

But they held firm despite being pinned on their own line, and completed a creditable double over their Birmingham hosts having won 43-0 when the sides met back in October.

The only disappointment was not coming away with a bonus point after having what appeared a perfectly legitimate touchdown chalked off in the second half.

Having conceded just six points in their last four outings – three of those from a penalty that did not appear to go between the posts – they can make the trip to Newbold-on-Avon in good heart.

“I did not think we played as well as we did the week before (53-0 at Malvern), but from a defensive standpoint, we were excellent,” said Sturdy.

“Not to concede any points again was very pleasing, particularly as we had to defend on our own line at the end with just 13 players. To stop them scoring we showed real resilience.

“We were disappointed not to come away with a bonus point as we had a perfectly good try disallowed, but the referee was unsighted.

“The conditions and the referee did not help with the game, but we got too involved and played a tight game instead of trying to get the ball wide.”

Last weekend’s victory, their eighth in their last nine outings, and their fourth in a row since the turn of the year, sees the Reds cement third spot. But they are now only three points clear of Dudley Kingswinford in fourth, who themselves did manage to gain a bonus point in their 41-19 win against Hereford.

Whitchurch took the lead when outside centre Luca Owen-Youens raced around a couple of defenders for an unconverted try.

Steve Bloore marked his return from injury with the second score when crashing over from a maul following a line-out. Danny Nicholas added the extras for a 12-0 interval lead.

That advantage was extended after the break when a quick tap penalty was played to inside centre Henry Hockenhull, who sped over in the corner, the conversion being missed.

Ricky Allman appeared to place the ball down for a fourth and bonus point but the try was ruled out.

The encounter then became increasingly niggly with Reds’ loose head prop Ian Gillespie and captain and flanker James Cope both yellow carded.

But the 13-man Reds defended with resilience.