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Atherstone 7 – 37 Southam

Warwickshire Shield Semi Final

Last Updated: Dec 31, 2014 07:30am
Atherstone, North Warwickshire
By Jule Douglas
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A tight first thirty minutes saw Atherstone and Southam contend equally for possession and territory however towards the end of the first half Southam were able to capitalise on handling errors and indiscipline to take an eighteen point lead into the break. 

Southam opened the scoring with an unconverted try in the first six minutes.  Having won the ball against the head in the scrum, good handling skills and jinking running saw Southam cross the whitewash.  Atherstone responded well using their powerful forwards to work the ball towards the scoring zone.  Jamie Lawrence made a break for the line and with his pack colleagues on his shoulders went over for the try.  Andy Redman added the extras to give his side a slim lead.  A successful penalty kick from Southam followed up by another kick that benefitted from a kindly bounce of the posts saw them open up a four point gap with twenty seven minutes played.

Superb tackling from Adam Bird prevented Southam from extending their lead with a breakaway charge up the line.  Excellent defensive work from the men in black, in particular from Rob Webster, John Perry and Stevie Parker kept Southam at bay as they piled on the pressure.  Eventually the force of attacks saw Southam add a converted try to their score.  This was followed up by another converted try as Southam ghosted through the defence to take the score at half time to 7-25.

The second half opened with Southam benefitting from a penalty just outside Atherstone’s 22m.  A kick to touch followed by a clinical catch and drive saw them score a converted try.  Five minutes later a repeat move saw them further extend their score by thirty points.  Atherstone continued to try and make ground however they were met with a strong defensive line.  A period of attack and defence from both sides proved to be physically demanding with a number of Atherstone players having to leave the pitch with injuries. 

With just over fifteen minutes to play, and the score at 7-37, Southam launched another attack which was met with a brick wall of defence.  Unfortunately, during this period of time, captain Phil Mulvey, who throughout the match had been very vocal in encouraging his team to keep their heads up, went into a tackle which left him unconscious. Team mates Webster and Perry tended to their captain until Josh Jackson, Atherstone’s trainee Physiotherapist and Southam’s Physiotherapist could get to Mulvey.  Assessing the situation it was felt prudent to call for an ambulance and both teams agreed to end the match early to allow Mulvey to receive the support he needed while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

Soitham now face Rugby Lions in the final of the Warwickshire Shield.  The Lions bulldozed through Harbury in the other semi-final scoring 66 points without response.  Atherstone have a break from league duties until 10th January when they travel to Coventrians.

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