SEDGLEY Tigers showed their class as they extended their winning league run to eight games with a convincing victory over Birmingham Bees in National League Two North on Saturday.
The Tigers outscored their visitors by six tries to two as they took control from the start to maintain fourth place in the table.
And manager Geoff Roberts was pleased with his side’s performance.
“To be honest I thought the game was going to be a lot tougher,” said Roberts. “Birmingham beat Macclesfield away and their record at home is pretty good, so I thought it was going to be a real test, but we just seemed to fly through it.”
A sickness bug had threatened the Tigers’ preparations with several players affected by illness.
“Matt Riley, Billy Emerson and Jamie Harrison all took to their beds in the week,” said Roberts.
“Riley said he would start the game and last as long as he could – he played until the end. Emerson made the bench, with the only real casualty from it being Harrison who didn't play at all.
“Luckily, we’ve not got too many injury concerns at the moment, so we were able to come through with the replacements. "The only player we lost during the game was Phil Largan, who got a shoulder injury and will probably be out for a few weeks, but otherwise we are raring to go again."
The Tigers have now won their last eight league fixtures and are in a good position heading into the second half of the season. However, Roberts is quick to dismiss talk of promotion talk - for now.
"We're not thinking about anything like that, we're just taking it step-by-step, getting on with it and taking each game as it comes,” he said. "We'll go where we go but at the moment we're just concentrating on getting our heads down and working hard."
The Tigers took advantage of a Birmingham mistake to score the first unconverted try on three minutes through Johnny Mathews.
The Bees quickly replied when David Evans went over for a try, Ian Briggs added the conversion to give the hosts a 7-5 lead.
However, another mistake from the hosts in the 11th minute allowed Mathews to strike again with another unconverted try to make it 7-10.
Steve Collins and Briggs traded penalty kicks for the two sides before, on 36 minutes, a clever chipped ball allowed Richard Wainwright to score between the posts. Collins added the extras to give the Tigers a 20-10 half-time lead.
Matthews raced in shortly after the restart to complete his hat-trick and claim the bonus point try.
Birmingham responded with a Briggs penalty on 54 minutes before Sedgley substitute Mike Waywell scored a try, with Collins adding the extras on 61 minutes.
The Tigers rounded off their scoring with a Collins penalty in the 68th minute and Waywell’s second try of the game.
Robert Connolly got a consolation try for Birmingham and Briggs added the extras to reduce the arrears to 20 points.
The Tigers face another tough test at home to local rivals Preston Grasshoppers on Saturday, when Roberts’ side will look to avenge the defeat of earlier in the season.