Midlands rugby final for proud Pershore

6:00pm Tuesday 25th February 2014

PERSHORE hope to finally shake off their tag of being ‘perennial bridesmaids’ after reaching the RFU Midlands Senior Vase final.

Over the years, the Wyre Piddle-based outfit have finished runners-up in various leagues, as well as losing play-off matches and suffering defeat in the North Midlands Cup semi-final.

However, Pershore’s Karl Evans is eager for his side to finally taste glory when they go head-to-head with Northamptonshire club Stewarts & Lloyds, who thrashed Newcastle 71-0 in the other semi, in the showpiece final on Saturday, March 15.

The prestigious match takes place at Pershore’s home ground and also doubles as the national RFU Senior Vase quarter-final, meaning the Vale side are just two wins from a potential Twickenham appearance.

Following his side’s 36-22 victory over Nottingham-based West Bridgford in the last four, Evans said: “As a club, since the introduction of league rugby, Pershore have often been the bridesmaid but never the bride.

“However, this is an opportunity for this group of players to show what they are really capable of and win a major competition, something the whole club are excited about.

“This will be among the biggest and most defining games in the club’s 50-year history and is certainly the biggest game we have hosted since the Indian national team played against Pershore almost a decade ago.”

Saturday’s semi-final clash with West Bridgford, who are flying high in second place in Midlands Three East (North), was switched to Kidderminster Carolians’ Marlpool Lane base due to waterlogging at Piddle Park.

However, this proved no obstacle as the Midlands Three West (South) hosts raced into an early lead when a turn-over in their ‘22’ enabled winger Stefan Ellis to outpace his opposite number and the full-back to score an unconverted try.

The lead was extended with the dominant Pershore pack marching the opposition back from 40 yards out.

A series of pick-and-drives gave the platform for second row Luke Hardiman to score a try converted by captain Lewis Dolphin.

Another Ellis break set up the third with the winger popping a pass to centre Tommy Hayes, who crossed the whitewash and Dolphin added the extras.

West Bridgford hit back with two converted tries, before Josh Hardiman gave Pershore a 22-14 half-time lead.

Pershore struck first in the second period as a driving line-out saw Martin Hope score a converted try and then winger Ashley White also went over.

Despite a late score from the visitors, Pershore were worthy of their victory.

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