Telford Hornets buzzing as they go top
Telford Hornets manager Roger Bates has hailed their excellent defensive record after moving to the top of Midlands 2 West North, writes Joe Edwards.
Hornets were 10-6 victors at Uttoxeter on Saturday and are now ahead of Burntwood – who drew 12-12 with Shrewsbury – on points difference
Bates’s charges have conceded just 53 points in eight games – meaning they have the best record in the division.
He said: “We are now top of the league and Shrewsbury drawing with Burntwood helped us out as well.
“We have been working on the defence for the past couple of years.
“The lads have really brought into it and it is bring results.
“If you look across the leagues, as far as the Premiership, you will struggle to find a number like that.”
Uttoxeter broke the deadlock 15 minutes in with a penalty, with Hornets replying with a penalty try for a 7-3 lead at the break.
Ben Lewis tucked away a penalty for Bates’s side to extend their advantage to seven points.
The hosts had two penalties of their own – the first skewed wide and the second successful, with Hornets holding on under pressure in the closing stages.
Jamie Vidor at centre looked to have the last score, but was tackled just short of the line.
“The interesting thing is Uttoxeter have been struggling, and they put on a good performance,” added Bates.
“For the neutral, it was a cracking game and it looked like it could have gone either way.”
Shrewsbury coach Simon Evitts is impressed with the progress of his side following their draw at Burntwood, who went into the game with seven wins from seven – and 34 points from a possible 35.
Shrews are now four games unbeaten and have moved up to seventh.
Phil Andrews and Colin Dickson both got tries at Burntwood, with Ollie Dolman converting the latter.
He then hit the outside of the post with a penalty attempt late on.
“Burntwood had only dropped a point going into the game so I am chuffed with a draw,” said Evitts.
“I am really pleased with the progress the lads have made since the start of the season.
“We made a few changes with how we play and it seems to be coming together.
“I think Burntwood probably felt a bit lucky in the end.
“Yes, they led for a lot of the game but we were really piling on the pressure towards the end after equalising.
“All their points came from penalties too while we got two tries, converting one of them, although it was probably a fair result in the end.”
Hornets will hope to extend their winning run to nine games this weekend as they host bottom club Barton-under-Needwood.
Shrewsbury entertain Cannock, who are fourth .