Midlands 1 West

Whitchurch 27

Bromsgrove 43

Whitchurch succumbed to a storming second half display as Bromsgrove showed just why they are Midlands 1 West champions to hit back for a brilliant victory at Edgeley Park.

It was the second successive game that the Reds had conceded 43 points following their loss at Worcester the week before – but this time there were plenty of positives from their performance against the standout team in the league.

They ran in four tries, and had led for much of the encounter, before being downed by a strong finish from their high-riding visitors who took their season’s points tally past the 1,000-mark.

Victory saw Bromsgrove remain a commanding 19 points clear at the top, while Whitchurch – who are now certain to finish fourth – lost ground on the two promotion-chasing sides above them, Dudley Kingswinford and Newbold-on-Avon.

Coach Scott Sturdy reflected on a spirited showing against the league champions, and felt the Edgeley Park men had their chances in the first period.

“It was a great first half performance,” he said.

“We put them under a lot of pressure, and should really have come away with at least one more score,” he said.

“When you have the top sides on the rack, you have got to take your chances.

“But you could see just why they are champions. They have some outstanding players, and every time we made a mistake, we were punished.

“It was a spirited performance from us against a very good side, and was night and day from the way we played against Worcester the week before.”

Whitchurch started strongly, with loose head prop Steve Bloore opening the scoring with the first of the tries, before scrum half Joe Mullock added a second touchdown, converted by Danny Nicholas for a 12-0 lead.

Bromsgrove hit back with a converted score themselves before Luca Owen-Youens, playing on the wing, bagged a third touchdown for the hosts to carve a 19-7 interval advantage.

A couple of further try opportunities went begging, though, and that lead was soon wiped out after the break by the high riding visitors.

They were helped by the fact that the Reds were disrupted after having both their second rows Jake Rees (high tackle) and Tom Wellsbury (not rolling away) yellow-carded.

And while they were down on numbers, the league champions took full advantage to grab three tries and wipe out the deficit.

A penalty from Nicholas followed by a touchdown from captain Jonathan Cope courtesy of a forward drive saw the Reds regain the lead at 27-26.

But that was as good as it got as Bromsgrove – who have won 24 of their 25 outings this season – finished in ruthless fashion to cross three more times without reply. The Reds are guaranteed fourth spot in their first season back at this level, where they are currently 18 points ahead of fifth-placed Stoke-on-Trent while Saturday’s opponents Worcester are in sixth, a further three points behind.

They have got the second-best defensive record in the division but have struggled to dispatch teams going forward, only scoring 628 points so far, the lowest in the top six.

Meanwhile, Whitchurch seconds conceded their trip to Northwich seconds in the North West Sale Sharks Division Two South after failing to raise a side.