Midlands 1 West

Whitchurch 19

Dudley Kingswinsford 5

WHITCHURCH coach Scott Sturdy was delighted with his side after they bounced back from a heavy defeat by moving third in the Midlands 1 West with a victory against Dudley Kingswinford at Edgeley Park.

The win, in atrocious conditions of wind and driving rain, lifted the Reds one point above their visitors and avenged a 33-21 defeat earlier in the season.

They have now won 10 of their 14 outings this season, and will look to keep up the good work when they resume duties away to Hereford on January 5.

Sturdy admitted his team’s success in the last outing before the Christmas break was a perfect way to sign off, especially as it was his own first win over Dudley since he joined the Reds.

“It was a great way to finish the year as we’ve never beaten them in the league since I’ve been with the club,” said Sturdy, who praised his side’s commitment in difficult conditions.

“There were a lot of bruised bodies out there. Our game management and ability to play the conditions was brilliant and, although it was a very tight game, we were better than them in every department.”

The Reds, who have fielded around 30 players this season, showed their versatility with hooker Jake Bailey and scrum half Joe Mullock both ending the game as flankers.

Opting to play against the elements in the first half, Whitchurch showed all their resolve to keep their visitors at bay with a 0-0 scoreline at the break, with DK pretty ineffective as they struggled to press home the advantage against some solid defence, with Sam Vaughan missing three penalty attempts.

With the weather in their favour in the second period, the Reds got their tactics spot on as they kicked to the corners, and looked to exploit field position.

They were ahead with a penalty score after the visitors had illegally prevented a touchdown as a scrum drove towards the line.

DK’s hopes faded further after having Danny Hawkins red carded for a dangerous tackle on scrum half Joe Mullock that sparked an angry melee.

With a man advantage, the hosts tightened their grip as Ryan Horton worked his way over in the corner, with Leighton converting well from wide out, before Luca Owen-Youens capped an excellent performance by powering over, also in the corner,

DK kept battling and gained a consolation with scrum half Joe Dunn finishing off in the corner.

Although 14 points adrift of leaders Bromsgrove, the Reds have opened up an eight-point gap on fifth placed Old Halesonians.