Woodrush 21 Bromyard 0
Midlands Three West (South)
IT IS a little surreal to remember that, at the end of November, Woodrush were top of this league.
A flying start to the season, scoring almost at will, has turned into something of a nightmare for the boys from Icknield Street who, on the back of five successive league defeats, have slipped to eighth.
Despite Saturday’s welcome victory against the Herefordshire strugglers, Woodrush remain eighth and a mid-table finish looks a near certainty, but at least some confidence has now been restored.
The selection was strong, with welcome returns to the squad from James Evans and Marcus Tomlinson leaving home expectations high.
On a grey and depressing afternoon weather-wise but with no wind to speak of, the hosts started strongly and the forwards, so disappointing at Old Leamingtonians the previous weekend, were in the ascendancy.
Woodrush appeared to have remembered how to scrummage and applied substantial pressure to the visitors who were far better than their league position might indicate.
With substantial territorial advantage, the Rush squandered two easily kickable penalties before a sweeping move saw robust inside centre Tom Wagg – running an unusually elusive line – crash over close to the posts after ten minutes. Jake White slotted the extras and the home side grew visibly in confidence.
Twenty minutes into an entertaining contest Woodrush added to their advantage with a fine try by recent signing Fran Godfrey who was on the end of an expansive thrust from another dominant scrummage. Extras were again added by White and the game turned around with the Rush 14 unanswered points to the good.
The second half commenced in entirely different fashion. The visitors, presumably stirred by the half time talk by their coach who was playing at first receiver, put the home team under massive pressure for the first 20 minutes.
Wave after wave of attack was repelled by the boys in green and white in a direct response to their poor defensive displays of the last few weeks. No quarter was given by either side. It was brutal.
The Rush recovered sufficiently to claim a scrum in their own 22 which was fielded by the impressive Dan Lavander at eight who offloaded to the equally impressive Tom Waters at nine.
Waters broke clear, dummied outside and broke three tackles to create space which he cleverly put John Board into to claim the only score of the second half which White again converted.
The game drew to a ferocious close with the home side grateful to get back on the winning horse and the visitors leaving nobody in any doubt they can survive in this league.
Strong commendations must go to Jordan Maddocks, all of 17 (just) and imperious in his performance on the wing, homegrown Joe McMullan who was exceptional in the lineout and Waters at scrum half who dictated the game.
Saturday brings old adversaries Upton to Icknield Street where Woodrush will be looking for further progress with the return of more now-fit first-teamers to the squad.