Old Coventrians 37 Woodrush 33
Midlands Three West (South)
WOODRUSH endured a damaging Saturday in their bid to beat the drop as they suffered a frustrating defeat and saw two relegation rivals secure victories.
The visitors trailed 22-0 after just 17 minutes and, despite a valiant fightback, had to settle for two bonus points.
Elsewhere, Upton-on-Severn defeated relegated Bedworth 38-15 and Old Wheatleyans saw off promotion-chasing Ledbury 47-31.
Old Wheatleyans are now safe, whilst Woodrush are second bottom, a point and place below Upton having played a game more.
Woodrush have a great chance to secure victory in their final match at Bedworth on April 22, but Upton will seal survival and relegate Woodrush if they win with a bonus point at home to Manor Park on Saturday.
Failure to do so, however, will leave Upton fearing the worse as they visit champions Droitwich – who have won all 21 league games this season – on the final day.
On a beautiful spring day, Old Covs won the toss and elected to kick down a slight slope with the wind and a blinding sun at their backs.
Woodrush simply did not deal with either of the elements and Old Covs scored four tries in just over a quarter of an hour as the home team kicked cleverly and made use of their quick right winger who gave Lucas Hooper a torrid afternoon.
On 25 minutes an excellent break by Tom Waters from scrum half saw Woodrush finally offer a threat of their own. An offload to Dave Hawkins, running an excellent supporting line from prop, and a trademark inside pass put John Board away between the posts to give some vague sense of hope to the visitors.
Woodrush continued to press, beginning to gain the upper hand at scrummage, and from a scrummage in the home 22 Jake White chipped brilliantly from ten, running through to gather and dab down to turn the sides around at 22-14.
Two minutes into the second half more excellent work by the Woodrush forwards and in particular Joe McMullan in dislodging the ball from the big home number eight’s hands saw Waters touch down between the posts to make it 22-21 and game on.
However, an inexplicable decision from the referee that Woodrush had knocked-on from the kick-off when it was a clear two metres backwards allowed Old Covs to regain the momentum.
Their superiority on the right flank saw the excellent home winger go over to push Old Covs further ahead.
Woodrush then broke the hearts of the hopeful away supporters as sloppy handling in attack offered two soft opportunities to the home side which they gratefully snapped up to make it 37-21 with 20 minutes to go.
The visitors shifted up a gear though and the last quarter was played entirely in the home 22. Woodrush pressed and pressed and Callum Ward crossed on 65 minutes to nudge the scores closer.
Time and again though the Woodrush attack seemed to lack direction and, despite all the possession, they simply could not string the passes together to capitalise.
At the death the lively Luke Sinclair crossed for what might well be a vital score to close the game with just four points separating the teams.
This was a game that could, and many might think should, have been won by Woodrush, but it at least resulted in two losing bonus points.