Pershore 36 Woodrush 15
Midlands Three West (South)
MILL Lane has always proven to be a tough place to visit and this game proved to be no exception on Saturday as the Rush crashed to their first reverse of the season.
Pershore started the game with a focused and effective ten-man game and the wet weather conditions played into their hands as the visitors struggled to get their hands on the ball in the opening ten minutes.
Early dominance at the scrum resulted in a try after only five minutes for the home centre and five minutes later – after indiscipline by the visitors – the hosts unsurprisingly kicked for the corner five metres from the Woodrush line.
The catch and drive proved to be irresistible and, with the extras being kicked, Pershore were deservedly 12-0 up after only ten minutes.
A somewhat shellshocked Woodrush responded well, enjoying a sustained period of possession and getting three points on the board via a penalty by Steve Smart and, despite a home penalty to balance that score, Woodrush were working their way slowly but surely up the field into the Pershore 22m zone.
A catch and drive from the lineout resulted in a touchdown by Matt Playford converted by Smart and as the match approached half time the momentum was definitely with the away team.
Smart left the field shortly afterwards after suffering a dead leg from an incomplete shoulder tackle by the home team, leaving the Rush with no recognised place kicker.
Two missed penalties for the visitors which could have put them in front went begging and half time saw the game balanced at 15-10 to the home team.
The second half started with Woodrush again putting pressure on the tiring home side but the turning point in the game came from a midfield scrummage. Woodrush failed to concentrate and a big home drive resulted in a very nasty injury to Liam Wallace at hooker, dislocating his shoulder amongst other things in the process and leaving him having to leave the field for hospital treatment.
The resultant 20-minute hold-up appeared to be just the ticket for the hosts, who had recharged their batteries and two scores from close driving play and a catch and drive from the lineout ended the game as a competition by the 65th minute.
The injury appeared to have had the opposite effect on Woodrush who appeared to be struggling to recover their composure.
The loss of fly half Ed Gardiner to an unsavoury eye-gouging incident a few minutes later did little to assist but, despite this, Woodrush stormed back and looked very strong in open play with Andy Warrilow touching down for his first try of the season.
However, the last word came from the home team to wrap up a comprehensive victory and leave Woodrush with plenty to think about in advance of Saturday’s visit of new leaders Dunlop as the top two do battle.
Woodrush would like to extend their thanks to the Pershore RFC first responder medic for his excellent and highly professional work in dealing with the Wallace injury.
Woodrush have been drawn to host Long Buckby in the second round of the RFU Midlands Senior Vase second round on Saturday, November 8.