Clee Hill 15 Woodrush 34
North Midlands Shield preliminary round
WOODRUSH booked their spot in the first round of the Shield with a deserved victory in Shropshire on Saturday.
The Ludlow side play their rugby at the equivalent level to Woodrush in Midlands Three West (North) and their small pitch and the wet and windy conditions were always likely to favour the hosts.
However, Woodrush started strongly and worked through the phases before slick hands along the line released teenager Nick Igracev who stepped through the covering defence to force himself over the line for a superbly taken debut try.
Another debutant, Jake White, missed the conversion.
In what was to be the tale of the first half, sloppy errors from kick-off gifted the Clee Hill pack the ball in the Woodrush 22.
Although the defence held firm, an offside penalty in front of the posts allowed the Clee Hill fly half to reduce the deficit to two points.
However, White’s steepling kick off was superbly regathered by the Woodrush pack and Titch Thomas sniped through from the 22 for a try between the posts and White added the extras to make it 12-3.
Again, the Woodrush pack’s failure to secure the kick-off put themselves under pressure and eventually resulted in the Clee Hill pack driving over for a converted score from a scrum on the 5m line.
This seemed to wake Woodrush up and they went on to play some textbook wet weather rugby, cleverly kicking into the Clee Hill 22 before pressuring the home side into coughing up possession.
This led to further tries from John Board following a clever chip behind by White and captain Jon Deeks who was driven over following a series of pick and drives.
In addition, a penalty by White gave the visitors a healthy 27-10 half time advantage.
The second half saw Woodrush camp in the Clee Hill half for large periods, resulting in flanker Lewis Lawlor powering over from a disrupted lineout with 20 minutes remaining and White added the extras.
Clee Hill mounted a spirited response, forcing their way back up the field before going over for a consolation unconverted try with virtually the last play of the game.
Woodrush will host fellow Midlands Three West (South) side Upton-upon-Severn in the last 16 on or before September 24.
Woodrush start their league campaign at home to Bedworth on Saturday.