Woodrush 48 Cheltenham North 12
Midlands Three West (South)
WOODRUSH entertained Cheltenham North on Saturday for the first time since the Gloucestershire side sent the men from Icknield Street down into Midlands Four West (South) two seasons ago and the Green & Whites exacted some revenge by clinching a comfortable victory which sent them top of the table.
North had disposed of Bedworth in their previous fixture so were never going to be anything other than a handful for the home side and certainly during the first half of this encounter this proved to be the case.
However, the Rush started quickly and some rapid recycling in the centres saw Ed Lerna cross after three minutes wide on the left.
Further pressure from the home team resulted in Steve Smart carving through a ragged defensive line and he added the extras himself to further extend the lead after ten minutes.
North were in no mood to capitulate after the initial home onslaught and fought their way back into the game, preventing the home side from registering again until coach Jon Ford crashed over with 38 minutes on the clock.
The visitors rapidly responded, however, opening their account on the verge of half time with a well worked move, leaving the sides to turn around at 17-5 and the game very much still in the balance.
Woodrush rallied however after the break and upped their intensity, dominating the second half and scoring at regular intervals. Titch Thomas, ever busy at scrum half, went over just after the interval and Matt Playford followed suit shortly afterwards.
Cheltenham again rallied to put a further score on the board themselves but the visitors’ frustration spilled over on a couple of occasions, resulting in more energy being consumed in handbagging than playing.
The home side took advantage as Anton Taylor was the next to join the scoring party and Lerna completed his brace five minutes later.
John Board added the eighth and final try for the home team on 71 minutes to complete a very satisfying afternoon for the home team.
Notable performances came from the Wallace brothers in the front row and Playford and Andrews in the engine room, Lavander at eight, Gardiner in the pivot position and Smart at full back in another overall top notch team performance.
Three bonus point victories out of three since their return to this division leaves Woodrush with a four-point lead ahead of their next league game at Pershore on October 11.