Rugby union:
Pershore edge to vital victory

By Liam Moakes Monday 18 February 2013 Updated: 18/02 14:42

Pershore 20 Southam 19

Midlands Three West (South)

PERSHORE extended their unbeaten league run to 13 matches as they edged out visitors Southam on Saturday in a fiercely contested match which was switched to Sixways, Worcester, as Piddle Park was waterlogged.

The Warwickshire side started the game the stronger and bombarded Pershore with a series of high kicks which caused problems for the Pershore back three.

Southam took the lead early on with two penalties slotted over from close range by their kicker Will Grindell, taking advantage of poor discipline in and around the breakdown area by the Pershore forwards and offside infringements from the outside backs.

Pershore responded quickly as their pack - weakened through injuries - got a foothold in the game and drove a lineout towards the opposition try line and Tommy Hayes - starting at number 8 - went over to make the score 6-5 to Southam.

Pershore, intent on scoring tries, continued to pile on the pressure in the first half, attempting to play some expansive rugby, typified by prop forward Lee Synnuck who danced and stepped his way through the defence, creating a breakdown in the Southam 22.

The ball was spread quickly to number 7 Stephen Holmes who broke through a number of tackles with his signature hand-off to cross the line in the corner.

In a very even match, Southam again mounted pressure on the Pershore defensive line, with two further misdemeanours allowing Grindell to slot two more penalties to make the half time score 12-10 to the visitors.

Soon after half time Pershore player coach Hayes moved to outside half and orchestrated the moves in the back line which began to penetrate well, with a series of quick phases from left to right leading to prop forward Alex Peel releasing deadly finisher Stefan Ellis to touch down in the corner.

Pershore looked to be home and dry when another backs move saw Ellis draw the defence and put full back Hanson into space.

He chipped the ball through towards the Southam line for Pershore captain Andy Jenkinson to outpace his opposite number and dive on the ball, making the score 20-12 and ensuring a bonus point for the home side.

However, Southam piled on the pressure, mixing their game up well, and were eventually rewarded for their enterprise with a good move out wide which drew in the Pershore defence and put winger Mike Mudd away to score their only try.

The only conversion of the match was made by Grindell, which set up a nervous last ten minutes.

Southam missed two late penalties which would have sealed victory and Pershore held on by the skin of their teeth to keep the pressure on the two sides above them pushing for promotion.

Tomorrow Pershore - five points behind second placed Old Leamingtonians and eight behind Old Coventrians with a game in hand on both - visit Cheltenham North.

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