Shropshire made an impressive start to their defence of the Iskitz Three Counties Championship with a 55-5 win over Greater Birmingham at Birmingham Exiles’ Elmdon ground this evening.
This season’s opening group match was a re-run of last season’s keenly contested final but this time Greater Birmingham proved no match for a well-drilled Shropshire side.
Despite travel difficulties cause by a crash on the M42 motorway which meant that the kick-off had to be delayed by 15 minutes, Shropshire were always in command and ran in 40 unanswered points in a one-sided second half.
Shropshire took a lead they were never to lose after two minutes when left wing Josh Evans of Newport powered over for a try that his club mate Liam Holder converted which was soon followed by a penalty from Holder.
Greater Birmingham reduced the deficit when lock Mike Benson of Walsall marked his debut with a close range try but that was as good as it got for the hosts.
A try from Shropshire captain Paul Hulland (Cleobury Mortimer) midway through the first half restored the 10 points advantage and six tries in the second half built on that lead.
A penalty try, for a scrum offence, stretched the lead and Holder added a straightforward conversion followed by a ty from Newport hooker Tom Cowell after further forward pressure.
A cheeky try from Newport scrum-half Ashley Paterson, who darted over from close range, increased the lead, soon followed by flanker Jimmy Lloyd (Whitchurch), Will Sparrow (Ludlow) and flanker Tom Leach (Cleobury Mortimer).
Holder’s accurate kicking increased the misery for Greater Birmingham with the centre converting six of Shropshire’s eight tries.
Shropshire will host Worcestershire & Herefordshire at Telford Hornets on April 28 before Worcestershire & Herefordshire play Greater Birmingham at Ledbury on May 5.
The top two teams in the group will contest the final at Old Halesonians on May 17.