Pershore 12 Old Wheatleyans 8
Midlands Four West (South)
PERSHORE secured a second successive league victory with a hard-fought win over their Coventry visitors to build on the thrashing of Harbury.
Following an 11th-hour pitch inspection, the game went ahead in testing conditions, with the cold and wet weather affecting the flow of the game and limiting the scoring opportunities.
Territory and a big defensive effort were required and the Piddle Park men duly delivered.
Pershore were on top for much of the first period as their dominance with ball in hand close in allowed them to make good inroads into the opposition territory.
Wheats, however, had the upper hand in the scrums and lineouts and looked strong on the break.
Just before half-time, the visitors cancelled out an early score from Pershore skipper Luke Hardiman to send the teams into the break deadlocked at 5-5.
Strong tackling throughout from forwards Greg Hitchcock, Josh Hardiman and Damien May was backed up by excellent running from Hardiman, Joe Gisbourne and George Price and, when Pershore beefed up the scrum in the second half – introducing Tobie Vermeire and Ben John from the bench – the home team gained parity and then dominance at the set-piece to counter Wheats’ strength on the break.
Coupled with an excellent scramble defence from their backs, effecting some massively important turnovers, Pershore competed well in the second half, although a high penalty count and the elements in their favour allowed Wheats to pin Pershore back in their own half.
From one such penalty, Old Wheatleyans edged ahead, kicking a penalty for an 8-5 lead and what looked like the winning score.
The crunch point in the game came with five minutes to go when a typical break from Wheats got them to within five yards of the Pershore line and the winning score.
However, Pershore’s cover made up the ground and stole the ball under their own posts and from the resultant scrum they exited perfectly towards the halfway line.
A penalty from the lineout gave the home team the opportunity to kick deep into the visitors’ territory and, with Gisbourne taking the lineout again, the Pershore pack drove from 30 yards out.
When joined by the backs, Pershore drove the maul towards the line and, when the visitors collapsed one yard out, the referee awarded a penalty try under the posts.
Wheats regained the ball from the kick-off, but Pershore’s rush defence forced a knock-on and to the delight of the hardened supporters the home team had victory.
Pershore 2nds were beaten 46-15 at Malvern 3rds. With the damage already done by the home team in the first half, some excellent performances from the visitors’ newcomers allowed Pershore to put in a strong second half effort in which they outscored their stronger opponents.
This Saturday, Pershore travel to Old Yardleians, with the 2nds having a week off before travelling to Upton.