Skipper Pete Stevens escapes red card in Tenbury Rugby Club's 22-7 defeat at Cleobury Mortimer in Midlands Four West (North) (From Ludlow Advertiser)
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Skipper Pete Stevens escapes red card in Tenbury Rugby Club's 22-7 defeat at Cleobury Mortimer in Midlands Four West (North)
Cleobury Mortimer 22 pts Tenbury 7 pts
SKIPPER Pete Stevens insists Tenbury can still mount a promotion challenge despite crashing to another bruising derby defeat.
The Palmer’s Meadow men have slipped to second bottom in Midlands Four West (North) after three successive losses.
Stevens was heartened by Tenbury’s display and believes they can stop the rot at home to mid-table Five Ways Old Edwardians this Saturday.
“Andy Wilkes will be back at 10 and Luke Brittain is also returning, so we will be putting everything into this weekend’s match,” said Stevens.
“We are starting to get a few players back and I am confident that things will begin to gel.
“Pete Foster was immense – he’s someone that we have been missing and Joe Webb was brilliant at fullback.
“This has been a torrid opening month for us after last season’s success but I know that we can learn from this and have a good season.
“This is a very open league. Warley beat Cannock and then Clee Hill hammered Warley.”
Stevens was sin-binned for the first time in his career – and narrowly escaped a red card – in last Saturday’s hard-fought match at Cleobury.
“I had a rush of blood – I tripped a Cleobury player as he ran past me and I feared the worst,” explained Stevens.
“It was an open trip and I should have been red-carded – it was a silly thing for me to do.”
Cleobury, joint top of the table with Clee Hill, drew first blood when skipper Allan Shields scored the first try and then added the conversion.
With Stevens on the sidelines, Sam Thomas ran from his own half to score and ex-Cleobury player Ben King slotted the extras to make it 7-7 at the break.
Willie Bache restored Cleobury’s lead with a try before openside flanker Josh Phillips sealed the hosts’ success with two touchdowns.
Stevens said: “I thought our backs were vastly improved and our line-out work was impressive.
“Cleobury took their chances well. But I think we will bounce back to beat Cleobury and also Clee Hill in the return matches.”
Cleobury skipper Shields said: “I wasn’t happy with our first-half display – we gave away too many penalties.
There was a bit of fisticuf fs and bickering between the sides but we feel we can play better.”