TWICKENHAM, Vase, Clee Hill and semi-final are all banned words in the Tenbury RFC dressing room at the moment, insists director of rugby Andy Black.

While next Saturday’s (January 19) Midlands Junior Vase last-four clash with Clee Hill looms on the horizon, Tenbury’s players have been told to put it out of their minds and concentrate on the league.

They heeded that advice by destroying Dixonians 81-0 in their first game of 2019 last weekend to maintain a four-point advantage over second-placed Warley at the top of Midlands Five West North.

This weekend, Tenbury visit third-placed Stourport in a game where victory would all but assure them of finishing in the top two.

And despite being just two games away from Midlands Vase glory – and three wins from a trip to Twickenham for the national final – Black says their focus is purely on the league for now.

He said: “In training, the skipper, Ben James, had made it clear that the first two things we have to do this year is to win our first two league games.

“He made it very clear that we don’t even discuss the 19th – it’s not even on our radar at the moment.

“We have to get these league games put to bed first and then maybe next week we can have a conversation about the cup!”

On the test at Stourport, who Tenbury beat 66-3 earlier this season and are 16 points adrift of the leaders, Black added: “We can’t take the win for granted just because we beat them at Palmers.

“They will be up for the game and are probably trying to play for second place, maybe even first. But we are playing some decent rugby so it’s a game we want to win, and win well.”

Tenbury put a sluggish start behind them to race into a 38-0 half-time lead against Dixonians with Callum Spires – who went on to get a hat-trick – and Greg Powell among the scorers.

Some fine team moves in the second half resulted in tries in the corners for Stu Lewis and Ricky Evans, while captain James bagged a hat-trick and Claude Clayton also crossed the line.

Zac Thompson added a penalty and eight conversions for a personal tally of 19 points as Tenbury racked up their biggest win and score of the season.

Black added: “This was the third time we had played Dixonians this season and we had beaten them comfortably the two previous times but we had conceded points.

“Over the season, our defence has improved and our objective was to keep a clean sheet, which we achieved, as well as getting back into a rhythm and getting some good passages of play going.

“The lads took on board points we were making from the touchline and it was a good result, a good run-out to clear the Christmas cobwebs. Even the referee commented on our fitness.”