DROITWICH ended their pre-season schedule by beating Cheltenham Tigers 15-12 and, considering Droitwich had a few players playing out of position, they did fantastically well to beat higher level opposition.
Droitwich started very well, dominating the first ten minutes of the game with strong and aggressive running from Mark Strutt and Ian Young, but could just not get the final pass to reward their efforts.
As the game wore on Cheltenham used their big powerful forwards to get themselves back up the pitch, but good defending from Dan Wilkinson and captain James Shewell kept the opposition at bay.
A good lineout saw back row forward Dave Edwards race up to Cheltenham’s 22m line before the referee awarded a penalty, which saw Bobby Scott-Walker take the three points on offer and take Droitwich into half time with a 3-0 lead.
The second half saw Droitwich start very slowly, with Cheltenham making good use of Droitwich’s sloppy defence to score in the corner.
Young again broke the line before passing outside to Strutt who used his power to dive over in the corner for a thoroughly deserved try for the young Droitwich side.
Cheltenham, however, did not give in and used the wind to kick the corners, as poor discipline from Droitwich enabled Cheltenham to take a quick penalty and score under the posts.
To Droitwich’s credit though they never gave up and with the final play of the match Will Bailon broke through the defence before being tackled five metres short of the try line.
With good communication and patience, the Droitwich forwards managed to pull the Cheltenham defence to one side before hooker Rob Poke slithered his way over in the corner for Droitwich to take the lead by one point. Scott-Walker added the conversion for the game to finish 15-12 to Droitwich.
Spa skipper Shewell added after the game that he was very proud of the young Droitwich side and hopes they can now take this performance into the start of the season.
Droitwich travel to Veseyans on Saturday in the first round of the North Midlands Shield.