Midlands 1 West

Whitchurch 15

Sutton Coldfield 3

An OUTSTANDING defensive performance from Whitchurch sealed four wins in a row to stay firmly among the leading pack in the Midlands 1 West after beating Sutton Coldfield at Edgeley Park.

First half tries from Jack Furnival and Ryan Horton set up the victory as the Reds cemented fourth spot, nine points adrift of leaders Bromsgrove, and six points clear of Old Halesonians in fifth position.

Coach Scott Sturdy was delighted with his side’s defensive showing, with the two tries in the first half enough to give the Reds an advantage to hold on to and believes this base – the best in the league – will give them the platform for more wins.

“We now have the best defensive record in the league,” said Sturdy. “If you have a good defence, then you have a very good chance of winning games.

“Overall, we deserved to win for our performance in both halves, attacking-wise in the first, and with our defence in the second. It was a pleasing win against a big, powerful side.”

The Reds showed their attacking flair to cross for two excellent tries in the first half, the opening score from a well-worked move from their own 22 before releasing No8 Furnival to race over, with the conversion supplied by Tom Skone who also added a first half penalty.

Another touchdown followed with the ball again going through several pairs of hands with some good link-up play before ending with fly half Horton touching down.

Whitchurch had a couple of further chances, but would have been happy enough with their efforts to lead 15-0 at the break.

Despite being on the back foot in the second half, the Reds held firm, restricting their visitors to just a solitary penalty from Ben Morgan on 54 minutes.

Skone missed a chance to restore that 15-point advantage when striking the post with a penalty as the home side enjoyed a rare sortie at the other end.

Sutton Coldfield pressed, but for all their possession, were unable to make further inroads into the score as the Reds again showed what a hard side they are to beat.

Next up is a home encounter with mid-table Worcester on Saturday (2.15pm), with Sturdy expecting another tussle against a side who have also won their last four outings.

“It’s a big game from our point of view as we’ve got to play two of the top sides before Christmas,” he added. “We’ve then got eight away games and just four at home in the second half of the season, so it’s important we put as many points on the board as we can now.”

The Reds have options, with centre Mike Gardiner set to return.