Midlands 1 West

Bromsgrove 36

Whitchurch 0

Whitchurch remain in the top four of Midlands West 1 despite coach Scott Sturdy admitting it was “a bad day at the office” after Whitchurch were soundly beaten at title-chasing Bromsgrove to end their five-match winning run.

The visit to the Worcestershire high-fliers, who are unbeaten at home this season, always promised to be a stern test for the Reds despite their recent run of good form.

And so it proved as their hosts ran in six tries, three of which were converted, to run out convincing winners to remain joint top of the table.

Despite suffering their heaviest defeat of the season, the Reds stay fourth, although they are now just four points above fifth-placed Hereford who closed the gap courtesy of their 37-12 victory over Stoke-on-Trent.

Sturdy admitted little went right for the visitors who went into the Bromsgrove game with seven players missing, including front row forwards Steve Bloore, Ian Gillespie and Tom Hale, and backs Mike Gardiner and Ryan Horton.

“It was a bad day at the office. It happens to every side, and was the first time this season that we have been convincingly beaten,” said Sturdy.

“We’ll put it down to one of those days, and you don’t become a bad side overnight after winning five in a row.

“Bromsgrove are a big, strong side, well-coached, good in set pieces and execute their game plan well.

“But we did not play well ourselves, made a lot of unforced errors, and it was a challenging afternoon for us.

“We were missing some key personnel, and did not help ourselves by giving away 20 penalties. We also had four yellow cards, which meant we played half the game with 14 men.

“We only had 10 per cent of the ball, if that. In the end, we did well just to concede only 36 points, and from a defensive standpoint we can take positives from that.”

Although disappointed, Whitchurch can take plenty of heart from their performances this season with nine wins from their 13 league outings.

And they will look to put last weekend’s setback behind them as they face another testing assignment at home to Dudley Kingswinford on Saturday (2.15pm) – their last action of the year.

Sturdy’s men missed the chance to draw level with Dudley, who remain three points ahead but now there is clear daylight between the top two and chasing pack as Bromsgrove joined Newbold on Avon on 58 points.

Both sides have lost once this season with Newbold leading the way thanks to their superior attacking and defensive prowess.