Defences are on top as Cleobury move up
Cleobury Mortimer climbed above Telford Hornets in Midlands Three West (North) after defeating their Shropshire rivals by just two points.
In a match that saw both defences praised, scoring chances were kept to a minimum – with Cleobury’s solitary try proving the only difference.
Telford – who had the slope in their favour in the first half – scored the only points of the opening 40 minutes.
Having sent one penalty just right of the posts on 10 minutes, Ben Lewis made amends four minutes later to make it 3-0. Hornets full-back Mickey Boden produced a try-saving tackle to keep Cleobury at bay in the first half, but the hosts were not to be denied and finally crossed the line on 64 minutes after a well-worked move saw Josh Winfield go over.
Lewis kicked Telford back in front with six minutes to play and the visitors looked to hold on to the ball deep in Cleobury territory to see the game out.
However, after 11 phases, a penalty was awarded to the home side, who then cleared their lines and worked a drop goal opportunity which was taken by Alex Sparks to give the hosts an 8-6 success.
Shrewsbury remain bottom of Midlands Two West (North) – with just five points – after suffering a 34-20 reverse at the hands of Burntwood.
Market Drayton suffered their second defeat of the season in Midlands Four West (North) and are now four points off the pace set by the side that defeated them, Aldridge.
A penalty apiece – with Alex Gammon on target for Drayton – was followed by the opening try for Aldridge to make it 8-3.
However, the visitors crossed the whitewash for the first time when Michael Felton rolled off the side of a maul to crash over.
Gammon kicked Drayton into the lead for the first time, but it did not last long as two more Aldridge tries – one of which was converted – gave them a 22-11 lead at half-time.
The punishment continued into the second half as two more tries had Aldridge storming clear at 34-11.
However, there was some fight left in Drayton as Gammon launched several kicks deep into the hosts’ territory to put them back under pressure.
When Aldridge conceded a penalty and had a player sent to the sin bin, Drayton took their chance, with Gammon kicking the ball to the corner and Luke Walters sprinting there to touch down.
Gammon also crashed through to reduce the arrears to 34-23, but try as they might they could not find one final try to give themselves two bonus points for four tries and a narrow defeat.
Clee Hill slipped to fifth, four points off the pace at the top and level on points with Drayton, after suffering a 22-21 defeat at Barton-Under-Needwood.