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Derby-day win keeps DK in the play-off hunt

By Nick Elwell | Rugby | Published:

Dudley Kingswinford gained a spot of revenge as they kept their Midlands One West play-off push firmly on track.

DK battled their way to a 33-5 success at Old Halesonians to hold on to second place in the standings, one point clear of both Newbold and Whitchurch.

The win avenged a home reverse at the hands of Old Hales in December with head coach Neil Shillingford relieved to chalk up another bonus-point success in the race to finish behind champions Bromsgrove.

“It was a typical local derby, a bit fiery in certain areas and it was a far-from-polished performance, but it was job done,” said Shillingford.

Shillingford expects the battle for second-spot and a play-off place to go right down to the wire.

A home clash with Stoke is up next and another five-point return will be the aim.

“Stoke will be far from easy,” he said. “We are going to have to be on our mettle.

“There can be no excuses. It’s all about our performance and we might need a better one than last Saturday’s.

“All we can do is to keep putting those five-pointers on the board. I still think it will go to the last game of the season.

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“We won’t change the way we approach games.

“Our attitude for the past couple of seasons has been to go out and chase bonus-point victories.

“We have learned that bonus points are important and make a big difference come the end of the season.

“We have the most bonus points in the division and wouldn’t be where we are if hadn’t picked so many up.

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“But there is a big difference in going out trying to get them and having to get them. But it’s up to us to take the opportunity.

“It’s no good over-thinking things, we just have to get out on the training paddock, keep working hard and what will be will be.”

Shillingford felt his side looked ‘nervy’ during the first half against Old Hales.

“We made hard work of it in the first half,” said Shillingford.

“It was a nervy performance. There were a lot of unforced errors and passes not going to hand.

“We had a chat about things at half-time and we were better in the second half. But I was still relieved when we got that bonus-point try.”

Despite not being at their free-flowing best, DK had the game all but wrapped up by half-time after establishing a healthy 21-5 lead.

They opened the scoring on 10 minutes when some good work from the forwards created the chance for winger Charlie Baffour to touch down, with Sam Vaughan adding the conversion.

Old Hales hit back and a spell of pressure was rewarded when loose head prop Tom Dempsey bagged a try to make it 7-5.

DK rallied and extended their lead thanks to some smart work from hooker James Fildes, whose accurate little grubber kick was snapped up Will Hancox for try number two.

Vaughan added the extras.

The third try arrived just before the break through Matt Perks, with Vaughan’s boot landing another two-pointer.

A brawl in front of the main stand resulted in both sides losing a player to a yellow card as tempers boiled over.

But it was DK who landed the next telling blow. After withstanding a spell of home pressure, they upped the ante and a series phases ended with the award of a penalty try to make it 28-5.

The final score of the afternoon saw Nick Adams cross the line following some good work from Josh Brown.

Stourbridge Lions had nothing to show for a brave performance against champions Bromsgrove.

The visitors ran on four tries in the last 15 minutes to secure a 36-0 success and the title.

Lions are in action on Friday night when they travel to Droitwich.

And there was no joy for Stourbridge’s senior side. They crashed to a 42-7 defeat away to Sedgley Park in National 2 North.

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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