North Midlands’ hopes of making the final of the County Championship Bill Beaumont Second Division were crushed by a 50-18 defeat by Devon at Dudley Kingswinford this afternoon.
North Midlands faded after a promising start and were left to count the cost of some weak tackling which helped Devon rack up seven tries in their second successive win.
The defeat means that North Midlands can no longer top the South group and they face a trip to Taunton to play Somerset next Saturday with only pride to play for.
North Midlands recovered from a sleep start, which saw Devon hooker Dean Avery burrow over from close range, to open up a 15-5 lead midway through the first half.
Stourbridge wing Josh Trinham raced over for an interceotion try after Devon tries to attack from their own 22 and Birmingham & Solihull fly-half Mitch McGahan added the conversion to put North Midlands ahead.
McGahan then added a penalty and when Stourbridge centre Ashley Elvers rounded off a superb attack started by scrum-half Jacob Nash (South Leicester) who tapped and ran a penalty deep in his own half, North Midlands looked like they might be on their way to victory.
But their game disintegrated in the second quarter as Devon scored three tries to take control of the game.
Right wing Will Topps hacked ahead and followed up to touch down, centre Lewis Patterson strolled through a static defence and left wing Ollie Rice then raced clear.
McGahan managed to interrupt the flow of tries but his penalty was cancelled out by one from Devon scrum-half Jordan Petherbridge.
North Midlands needed a solid start to the second half, instead they leaked another try within three minutes of the restart when the defence parted to allow Devon number eight Dan Williams to power over.
Openside flanker Wayne Sprangle crossed twice from close range to help take Devon to their half century and complete a miserable afternoon for an outclassed North Midlands side.