CLEE Hill captain Sam Link is zeroing in on a massively important start to 2019 after seeing his side go third in Midlands Four West North with a gritty 7-0 win over promotion rivals Linley.

Link scored the only try of the game, driving over from close range midway through the first half, with Charlie Evans adding the conversion.

Clee Hill now sit six points behind leaders Willenhall and five adrift of second-placed Rugeley ahead of two huge fixtures to start the new year.

They host Rugeley in the league on January 12 before visiting local rivals Tenbury in the semi-final of the Midlands Junior Vase a week later.

Link said: “The hard work from the boys has put us in this position. It’s just about building towards those games now.

“They are probably the two most important games so far – it would really put us on the right track going into the final part of the season if we can get results in them.

“We didn’t have massive plans for this season but we want to keep playing good rugby and see what comes.”

The skipper paid tribute to his side’s defensive steel after the shut-out win over Linley in brutal wintry conditions.

Link added: “It was absolutely horrible, not a nice game to play in, and at times in the second half we were hanging on but defensively we were brilliant – I don’t think there was a single missed tackle.”

Elsewhere, winless Church Stretton remain bottom of Midlands Five West North after forfeiting a fourth game in six as they conceded at home to Stourport.

Bishops Castle and Onny Valley are two places above them after a 26-10 home defeat to promotion-chasing Warley.