Woodrush 31 Old Wheatleyans 19
Midlands Three West (South)
WOODRUSH share a six-point advantage at the top of the pile with Dunlop after a convincing victory over Coventry-based Old Wheatleyans on Saturday.
On a bright and breezy day at Icknield Street, Woodrush played well to see off a spirited Old Wheats side who belied their mixed start to the season with an upbeat performance of some quality.
Playing with the slope and the blinding autumnal sunshine at their backs in the first half, the green faithful might have expected to control the first period given their recent run of form.
However, it was the visitors who brought a more dynamic game plan to the opening encounters and the Rush needed all of their defensive acumen to keep them at bay.
The official seemed hell-bent on adhering to the letter of the laws which resulted in numerous stoppages and scrummages on the pitch and somnolence amongst the crowd.
The constant whistle-blowing was also having some influence on the temper of the players and on 20 minutes, after two or three high tackles, a Wheats player pushed his luck too far and was sent to the bin to cool off.
The home team capitalised with a penalty from Steve Smart before settling into their stride as their muscular pack gained some degree of control up front. Titch Thomas spotted the gap on the edge of the breakdown and drove over for a trademark score, to which Smart added the extras.
The pressure was beginning to tell on the visitors and a second yellow card left them with just 13 on the park for a couple of minutes. Despite their numerical disadvantage, they defended valiantly, keeping the marauding home team at bay until at least one of their miscreants returned to the field.
A sensational move along the backs line saw Jack McLaren sprint clear to give the home side some breathing space with a minute to go on the clock. On the cusp of half time it seemed as though he had repeated the feat but for a well-spotted foot in touch and the sides turned around with the hosts 17-0 up.
The second half brought something of a resurgence from the visitors with a try early in proceedings and, with the wind at their backs, they refused to yield.
However, Jake White appeared off the bench to grab a try for himself and Thomas completed his brace to further extend the home side’s advantage and secure a bonus point.
Two scores in the dying minutes brought the visitors to within a hair’s breadth of a losing bonus point but it was too little, too late.
There were performances of note from McLaren, Thomas and Dan Lavander in a good team effort which contained some superb tries for Woodrush, who have four league wins from four to their name.
The top two go head-to-head on Saturday when Woodrush visit Coventry to take on Dunlop, who they lead on points difference.