Sedgley Tigers promotion bid turns Stour after home defeat

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide: Tigers’ Callum McShane avoids a Stourbridge challenge Tigers’ Callum McShane avoids a Stourbridge challenge

UPBEAT Sedgley Tigers coach Geoff Roberts is confident his team can bounce back from consecutive National League Two defeats to end the season on a high.

His side’s slim promotion hopes were ended on Saturday as the Tigers crashed to a 45-3 home defeat to Stourbridge, who, following the victory, moved up to second.

Roberts said: “Barring some ridiculous slip-up I think it’s become a top-three promotion race now, and unfortunately we’re just out if it.

“Nevertheless, it’s been a good season and we’re hoping to finish it off well.”

The Tigers, who, despite the defeat, remain in fourth, were missing three front players – Jonny Matthews (England Counties), Juan Crous (shoulder injury) and Jonny Bishop (hamstring) – and struggled to compete against the visiting pack.

Roberts said: “When you can’t compete up front then you do get a bit of a trouncing in rugby.

“We were short of three key players in that area and we came second best in the forward tussle.

“Stourbridge played very well – probably the best they’ve played all season – but we just couldn’t compete where it mattered.

“When you’ve got three of your eight-man pack out it becomes a problem, and it is reflected in the results.

“But it’s just one of those things. We’ve got to ride through it and get back on the horse.”

Stourbridge opened the scoring in the fifth minute with Ejike Uzoigwe going over for a try, which was converted by James Hearn.

Mark George, Uzoigwe and Scott Wright added further tries with Hearn converting one to give the visitors a 24-0 lead after 34 minutes.

Sedgley scored their only points of the game on the stroke of half time as Matt Riley hit a long-range penalty.

The visitors added further tries through Nathan Bressington, Drew Harper and a penalty try with Hearn completing the conversions to take the final score to 45-3.

After the match, Roberts admitted the weather and injuries had taken their toll on his team over the past few weeks.

He said: “The weather hasn’t helped. We do like a bit of a fast track and when we get in the mud it doesn’t really suit us much, so with that and the injuries, we’ve just come unstuck.

“It’s when injuries concentrate in one area that it creates a bit of a problem.

“Having said that you get injuries and bad weather, and you just have to deal with it.”

The Park Lane outfit were dealt a further injury blow with back Mike Waywell damaging his finger in the defeat.

“Mike made a mess of his finger. It looks like ligament damage, so could be a few weeks,” said Roberts.

The Tigers, who still have to go to leaders Darlington Mowden Park, are at Otley on Saturday, kick off 2.15pm.

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