Woodrush 58 Aston Old Edwardians 10
North Midlands Shield round one
ASTON OEs arrived at Icknield Street on Saturday as something of an unknown quantity in this cup opener having played their rugby last season at a level two leagues higher than the ‘Rush.
The home team were nonetheless confident after an encouraging pre-season and opened their account after just three minutes when strong scrummaging and drives from new player coach Lavander followed by Playford and Bagby set up Tom Wagg for a try converted by Smart.
Aston responded strongly but a near miss from a penalty attempt was their only threat before Thomas broke from phase play, feeding Gardiner who fed Board for a superb score in the corner.
The game was 19 minutes old when Woodrush kicked for the corner and the resultant catch and drive saw Marcus Tomlinson emerge triumphant to give the home team a point a minute scoring rate.
The hosts continued to play confidently and a sweeping move, again involving Lavander, saw the excellent Board cross again. From the kick-off, a kick and chase from Lavander – now revelling in the space the front five were creating – saw Tomlinson, offering an astonishing level of ball support for a front row, gather coolly and cross for his brace.
Aston mustered a penalty kick in response but half time saw the sides turn around at 31-3 with the home team in the ascendancy.
The first few minutes of the second half were scrappy with Woodrush giving away a series of unnecessary penalties, but nonetheless quick hands from Gardiner and Poole put Board in just a yard of space.
It was all he needed as, in the form of his life, he skipped around his opposite number, making 30 metres before feeding the effervescent Smart who dabbed down between the posts.
The Woodrush back line was now enjoying a field day with a move that swept from side to side and back again, with Board starting and finishing a fine move to give him a well deserved hat-trick.
Kris Duce showed great pace to finish the next flowing move following superb handling by Poole to finish out wide but the home side somewhat imploded, inexplicably conceding two yellow cards in two minutes, which allowed Aston sufficiently into the game to cross for a consolation try with ten minutes to play.
The home side responded strongly though, having settled again, with Smart and Poole completing the scoring on a good afternoon for the hosts.
The reward for this win brings Bridgnorth to Icknield Street on Saturday for the second round of the shield.