06/05/14 by Paul Bolton
|Shropshire eased to a 56-22 win over Greater Birmingham at Telford Hornets this evening in a dress rehearsal for next Tuesday’s Three Counties Championship final.
A second half hat-trick of tries from Ludlow wing Will Sparrow ended Greater Birmingham’s resistance and gave Shropshire, the defending champions, an important psychological boost ahead of the final which will be played at Stourbridge’s Stourton Park.
Both counties were forced to make late changes for the final group match with Shropshire disrupted by Newport’s tour commitments and the unavailability of a number of Bridgnorth players ahead of Sunday’s North Midlands Shield final.
Only three points divided the sides at half-time after Ellesmere College full-back Jack Martin, one of three colts who made their debuts for Shropshire, scored the opening try following two penalties from Newport fly-half Tom Moore.
Bridgnorth scrum-half Gareth Bladen crossed before the break and Moore kicked his second conversion but Greater Birmingham nibbled away at the lead and turned around only 20-17 down.
Moore stretched Shropshire’s lead with a penalty early in the second half which was followed by the first of Sparrow’s three tries.
Moore gathered his own chip ahead and touched down under the posts for another try which he improved and Greater Birmingham’s revival, which reduced the deficit to eight points, proved short-lived.
Jack Doyle of Ludlow and two more tries from Sparrow put Shropshire clear and set up a re-match in the final.
The Three Counties Championship is contested annually by the three Domestic Unions that comprise the North Midlands RFU.
Sparrow hat-trick seals Shropshire win
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