Tenbury 23 pts Cleobury Mortimer 29 pts

DEFIANT captain Pete Stevens blamed ‘poor tackling’ and ‘stupid mistakes’ after Tenbury slipped to a narrow derby defeat in a pulsating afternoon at Palmer’s Meadow.

Ben King scored a brace of tries as Tenbury fought back from 19-10 down to lead 20-19 before Cleobury hit back to secure a league double over their rivals.

“Stupid mistakes and stupid tackling cost us,” said Stevens.

“We were unlucky – we were winning with 10 minutes remaining.

“But we picked up two bonus points from the match and that was pleasing.

“If we can stop giving away silly tries, I am sure we will start shooting up the table.”

Stevens added: “Chuck Parry had an extremely good match at 12 and he’s in the area for the next few months. Rob Yeomans is making a huge difference at tight-head and we were pushing Cleobury’s scrum all over the place.”

Tenbury are second bottom, just two points behind Greyhound in Midlands Four West (North).

They travel to Five Ways Old Edwardians this Saturday.

Stevens was disappointed with the returning George Withers who was yellow-carded for a tackle just 30 seconds after coming off the bench in last weekend’s derby.

Cleobury, who are now second in the table, opened the scoring with a try from Ben Thomas.

Will Gough levelled for Tenbury with a push-over try and Will Morgan added a second.

But Josh Phillips bagged an interception try for Cloebury, who led 12-10 at the interval.

“Cleobury scored again through John Hulland before a fine try from Ben King put Tenbury back in the match at 19-15.

“We were all over Cleobury and they had a player sin-binned and King scored his second touchdown to put Tenbury 20-19 ahead,” said Stevens.

Cleobury hit back to regain the lead. Tom Leach then ran through six or seven of the Tenbury players to score a fine try to extend Cleobury’s advantage to 29-20.

However, Tenbury were still not finished and King slotted over a conversion to complete the scoring.

“Leach took his try well but it was down to our pathetic tackling,” said Stevens.

“We have to play Greyhound, Warley and St Leonards but we have signed a player and another lad has phoned me up asking to play.

Cleobury captain Allan Shields kicked three conversions and a penalty.

Shields said: “Tenbury had made a lot of changes since we last played them.

“Tenbury chased us all the way and it was a very hard-fought derby.”