Evesham 17 Nuneaton 14
Midlands Two West (South)
EVESHAM moved six points clear of the bottom two thanks to a crucial home victory over Nuneaton on Saturday.
The tense win lifted the Vale side into eighth place and captain Nathan Chambers and Co have the ideal opportunity to build on this success on Saturday when they visit rock-bottom Old Yardleians, who have lost all 12 league games.
Skipper Chambers said: “This was quite an important fixture, so getting the win is most pleasing. After falling behind we rallied well and our defence held firm to grind out a very important win.
“It’s a tightly congested league table and we are viewing the Old Yardleians fixture as another must-win game.”
Starting Saturday’s match in tenth place, just a spot and three points above the north Warwickshire side, Evesham began brightly in the opening stages as their forward pack made dents in the opposing defence and their tricky backs caused problems in the wider channels.
However, following some ill-discipline, Evesham invited pressure upon themselves and from a penalty infringement Nuneaton were able to enter the Evesham half and set up their rolling forward-based game.
From continued maul pressure, the visitors were able to cross for the opening score which was converted.
Evesham reacted positively, camping deep in Nuneaton’s half and forcing penalties of their own. Through continued pressure and multiple infringements, Nuneaton lost a man to the sin-bin and fly half Mike Diston was able to punish this by slotting over a penalty kick to make it 7-3.
Disappointingly though, lapses in concentration once again allowed Nuneaton to enter the Evesham half and again, through well structured forward drives, the spaces opened for the visitors to score their second converted try which put them 14-3 up.
Feeling frustrated, Evesham rallied for the final ten minutes of the first half and from a well worked set piece move Wilf Watson drove centre partner Alex Jackson over for a converted score.
With the elements assisting the home side in the second half, Evesham were confident they could overcome the deficit. However, with both teams unable to maintain any real pressure, much of the second period passed with the score unchanged.
However, Evesham’s patience was rewarded in the final quarter as further ill-discipline from Nuneaton led to a second sin-binning and a spell of dominance from the home side.
Opting to scrum from the resulting penalty, the Avonsiders pressed and, after a number of phases, hooker James Roberts crossed for a powerful score to which Diston added the extras to complete the scoring.