SEDGLEY Tigers hope their first win in nine games will provide the platform for a survival surge.
The Whitefield men’s gripping 19-17 home victory over Coventry still leaves them 11 points adrift of the safety mark, but has changed the mood around Park Lane.
Eight straight defeats had seen them tumble down National League One after an impressive start to the season.
A horrendous injury list had contributed significantly to their slump, but with most of their key players now either back or due to return in two or three games’ time, hopes are high that the scene could be set for stirring revival.
Saturday’s hard-fought victory went the way Tigers are hoping their season is going to go from now on – bouncing back in style.
Trailing 7-6 at half time, 10-9 after 47 minutes, and 17-16 after 64 minutes, they hit back to win and then held out with resilient defending.
“It was a very deserved win,” said team manager Geoff Roberts.
“They showed real grit and determination and didn’t crack when Coventry were piling on the pressure to get in position for a drop goal at the end.
“The tackle hunger was very apparent, especially in the last 10 minutes when Coventry couldn’t break the defence down, so tried to get in the 22 and get a drop goal.
“Our lads were dancing when they got back in, quietly dancing though, and they deserved to because they showed tremendous spirit. All the team dug in. Garth Dew got more match fitness in his second game back from injury.
“He’s an influential player for us, and three more influential players Louis McGowan, Jimmy Lloyd, Richard Wainwright and Richard Oxley are all due back soon.
“That’s been the trouble. These fellas are our leaders, our experienced players and we’ve missed them. The heart of our team has been missing.”
Dew scored Tigers’ only try at the weekend, with Steve Collins successfully kicking four penalties and one conversion.
Oxley will play this weekend in a crunch away clash at second-bottom club Macclesfield, with Wainwright next back in early to mid-January, and Lloyd and McGowan a week or so later.
Some good news for Tigers is that Cambridge have been deducted the five points they won against Sedgley the previous week for fielding an unregistered player in the game, and now drop to the bottom.