By Liam Moakes 12/03 Updated: 13/03 09:42
Old Yardleians 15 Evesham 25
Midlands Three West (South)
EVESHAM bagged a crucial victory at fellow strugglers Old Yards on Saturday which proved enough to lift them above both their hosts and Redditch in the battle for survival.
And, following last week's withdrawal of Coventry outfit Keresley from the league - which means they will effectively fill one of the division's two relegation places - it means Evesham can certainly breathe more easily for the time being.
Keresley hope to return to the fold in Midlands Four West (South) next season by which time they hope to have resolved player availability issues, but in the meantime their withdrawal means their results from the season have been expunged.
Crucially on Saturday, Evesham not only earned victory but also denied Old Yards a losing bonus point, which means the Vale side have a three-point advantage over them and a two-point lead over Redditch - who they host in their next league match a week tomorrow - as well as a game in hand on both.
In glorious sunshine, Evesham took the game to their hosts, playing an expansive, attacking game. The Evesham pack made a good start against their larger opposition and returning scrum half Chris Evis was varying his game very well and releasing his dominant backline.
Centre Stefan Lasota and wingers Steve Hughes and Will Badger were making plenty of yardage with line-breaking runs but suprisingly the half time was score was only 6-3 to Evesham through two Simon Corbett penalties.
The second half was a proper dogged battle with both sides throwing everything into the match. As Old Yards began to find some form, Evesham's defence remained resolute.
Henry Webb, Stuart and Clive Smart had outstanding games in defence and eventually Evesham crossed for their first try through full back Sam Hopkin.
Evesham now had their tails up and were going for the kill and they indeed got a second converted try after good driving work from the pack.
Old Yards' heads were now down and Evesham finally put good daylight between the sides with a third converted try.
In the last five minutes, as Evesham took their foot off the gas, Old Yards got themselves a more respectable scoreline with two tries of their own.
However, Evesham held on to prevent Old Yards gaining a losing bonus point.
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