By Liam Moakes 05/03 Updated: 08/03 12:40
WOODRUSH put their fate back into their own hands in the battle to be crowned top dog of our local sides in Midlands Three West (South) this season as they clinched a 28-7 victory over Kings Norton at Icknield Street on Saturday.
The win completed a league double for Woods over Kings this season to add to their double over Redditch and leaves them sixth in the table - a place and two points behind Kings with a game in hand.
Key man Steve Smart was the inspiration behind the success for the hosts as he enjoyed the rare distinction of scoring a try, conversion, penalty and drop goal in the same match.
It was the drop goal that opened the scoring after ten minutes and his converted try came shortly afterwards when Smart made the break on the Kings Norton 22 and broke the tackle to score.
Two penalties made it 16-0 at the break although Kings, playing up the slope in the first half, were not without their moments in an entertaining encounter as they defended doggedly and showed their capabilities to break forward.
In one such attack in the 20th minute an impressive, bullocking run by Tom Hatfield saw him feed the ball across to Marcus Bender who took the pass at pace and made more ground before offloading to skipper Phil Stock, who sprinted through for a touchdown only to find the pass had been adjudged forward.
Shortly before the break Ed Jones and Chris Dearden both came within a whisker of scoring tries for Kings but the former's effort was disallowed for stepping into touch as he touched down and the latter was also thwarted by a desperate tackle as Woods showed their desire to continue their long-standing bragging rights over Kings.
The visitors enjoyed better periods of possession and territory in the second half but were met by stern Woodrush defence and it was the hosts who extended their lead when full back John Board joined the back line and released winger Lucas Hooper who evaded four tackle attempts to score the best try of the afternoon.
The conversion attempt fell short but the damage had been done in respect of the outcome of the match, although Kings battled hard as stand-in fly half Louis Stelling kicked well down the slope and inside centre Yassin Ayachi's powerful running helped apply significant periods of pressure on the home line.
The referee was again busy penalising the aggressive Woodrush defending and inevitably, after a long series of well-drilled phases by Stock's pack, Kings were awarded a penalty try in the 70th minute which Stelling converted.
Kings continued to press for the points that could have at least salvaged a losing bonus point but in the dying moments a Woodrush scrum ten metres from the Kings' try line saw No 8 Matt Playford pick the ball up himself and force his way over before Smart converted to round off a successful afternoon for Woodrush.
The hosts could celebrate but both sides played their part in a spirited, highly competitive match without the acrimony that can often be so evident in this league.
Kings will hope for the return of a number of key players for tomorrow's fixture at fourth placed Old Coventrians, whilst Woods visit eighth placed Southam.
The day was also remarkable for Woodrush fielding three senior teams for the first time in over ten years.
The 2nds beat Upton-on-Severn 41-7 and the 3rds edged out Redditch 3rds 7-0 with the only try of the match in the first half.
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