By Liam Moakes 23/04 Updated: 02/05 09:33
Pershore 23 Barkers Butts 32
Midlands Two West (South)
PERSHORE restored some pride as they closed a disappointing campaign by pushing champions Barkers Butts all the way at Piddle Park on Saturday.
Despite the fact their relegation had already been confirmed, Pershore began with gusto against the Coventry visitors and the difference in league standings was far from obvious as Pershore started the game on the front foot.
The set piece was keenly contested as both teams secured much of their own possession and Pershore opened the scoring with an AJ Hanson penalty after five minutes.
However, the champions showed their credentials soon afterwards when a fluent sequence of play ended with their flanker scoring under the posts and the try was converted.
Another Hanson penalty pulled the score back to 7-6 and Pershore then began to show some control and regained the lead.
After a break on the left flank, Matt Harwood was stopped just short and captain Karl Evans was on hand to drive over from a few yards out.
Within a few minutes Pershore extended their lead when, from the back of a lineout, flanker Dave Hill popped to hooker Ben Humphries who scored under the posts and Hanson converted.
Andy Jenkinson then made it 23-7 with a well taken try on the left wing but crucially it was Barkers who had the final say of the half with their second try, again converted.
At 23-14 up, Pershore looked confident going into the second half but a sin-binning for prop Alex Peel put them on the back foot and a penalty and try for Barkers closed the gap to within a point.
Pershore were now holding on but the solid set piece continued to give them a decent platform to play from.
With ten minutes left Pershore were on the attack and a try looked on the cards but a penalty was conceded for a double movement in trying to ground the ball.
The visitors took it quickly from their own line and with numbers out wide Pershore's scrambled defence could not get back quickly enough and the try was scored under the posts.
The conversion and a penalty a few minutes later gave Barkers Butts a 32-23 victory but Pershore can take plenty of heart from this vastly improved display.
PERSHORE Phoenix Dragon Boat Club paddlers Dave Cole,
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