North Midlands will face Kent in their opening match of the County Championship Bill Beaumont Cup Second Division at Canterbury tomorrow with a severely depleted.
Injuries and unavailability have deprived Alex Davison, North Midlands’ new head coach, of 27 players who had made themselves available for county duty.
Eight of those players are from Luctonians, where Davidson is director of rugby, who have a rearranged National Two North league match to play tomorrow and seven from Birmingham & Solihull who are preparing for Sunday’s North Midlands Cup final against Newport.
Bromsgrove flanker Phil Horton, a stand-out player for the county last season, also misses out because of injury.
The side to face Kent includes four members of this season’s North Midlands Under-20s side in lock Sam Knott, flanker Morgan Dawes, scrum-half Jacob Nash and centre Frank Kelly.
Davidson hopes his selection problems will ease for the remaining group matches against Devon at Dudley Kingswinford on May 14 and Somerset at Taunton on May 21.
North Midlands prepared for the Kent match by beating Worcestershire & Herefordshire in a conditioned training match at Bromsgrove on Wednesday evening.
North Midlands (v Kent at Canterbury, May 7 at 3pm):
15 Thomas Hunt (Bromsgrove); 14 Rhyan Scott-Young (Luctonians), 13 Frank Kelly (Luctonians), 12 Ashley Elvers (Stourbridge), 11 Josh Trinham (Stourbridge); 10 Rod Petty (Stourbridge), 9 Jacob Nash (South Leicester); 1 Bobby Green (Bromsgrove), 2 Gino Belmonte (Bromsgrove), 3 Steff Thorp (Stourbridge), 4 Sam Knott (Worcester University and Luctonians), 5 Ed Parry (Dudley Kingswinford), 6 Morgan Dawes (Moseley), 7 Max Macfarlane (Old Halesonians), 8 Steve Leach (Old Halesonians). Replacements: Daniel Powell (Luctonians), Williiam Crane (Moseley Oak), Cameron Tawfik (Luctonians), Oli Rayner (Old Halesonians), Oli Allsop (Luctonians).