Worcester Warriors have come to the rescue to ensure that the Nigel Banwell Memorial Match at Upton on Severn tonight will go ahead (8pm).
Worcestershire & Herefordshire were due to start their defence of the Iskitz Three Counties Championship against Greater Birmingham at Upton on Severn, the club Banwell, the North Midlands President served loyally.
But the event was in jeopardy when Greater Birmingham scratched from the fixture yesterday because of difficulties in raising a side.
Worcestershire & Herefordshire were determined that a match should be played and the Warriors’ Community Department responded by arranging an Invitation XV, selected from clubs and schools in North Midlands and Staffordshire, to play the Two Counties.
The match will be preceded by a minute’s applause to honour Banwell, who was a founder member of Upton and who collapsed and died while putting out the flags before a match in January.
Greater Birmingham’s withdrawal means that they have completed their group matches without playing a match.
They had a walkover last week when Shropshire scratched from the scheduled championship opener and have now conceded tonight’s fixture.
The final group match between Shropshire and Worcestershire & Herefordshire will be played at Shrewsbury on May 3.
Worcestershire & Herefordshire: 15 Sam Hopkins (Evesham); 14 Wilf Watson (Evesham), 13 Ollie Meadows (Worcester Wanderers), 12 Josh Holt (Bromsgrove), 11 Sam Gladwin (Redditch); 10 Adam Dixon (Malvern), 9 Oli Swift (Upton on Severn); 1 Brad Smith (Luctonians), 2 Jamie Roberts (Evesham), 3 Craig Freeman (Malvern), 4 Josh Walker (Ross on Wye), 5 Jay Martin ( Old Halesonians – captain) 6 Josh Tomlinson (Woodrush), 7 Tom Dodge (Worcester Wanderers), 8 Max Macfarlane (Upton).
Replacements Sam Jones (Old Halesonians), Tom Gazey (Evesham), Anton Taylor (Sutton Coldfield), Chris Pinner (Kidderminster Carolians), Ed Gough (Tenbury), Ben King (Malvern), Brian Ranns (Pershore).
Worcester Warriors Community Invitation XV
15 Alex Bird (Wolverhampton); 14 Charlie Burnham (Pershore), 13 Bill Jones (Wolverhampton), 12 Rhys Morgan (Wolverhampton), 11 Gareth Jones (Wolverhampton); 10 Sam Vaughan (Stourbridge Lions), 9 James Pritchard (Old Yardleians); 1 Kurtis Payne (Birmingham & Solihull), 2 Ryan Home (Wolverhampton), 3 Jeremy Delot (Wolverhampton), 4 Adam Greaves (Wolverhampton), 5 Richard Corr (Bournville – captain), 6 Tom Baxter (Ellesmere College), 7 George Baxter (Wolverhampton) 8 Pete Griffiths (Dudley Kingswinford)
Replacements: Francesco Muratore (Worcester Wanderers), Ian Harley (Wolverhampton), Adam Ellis (Wolverhampton), Daniel Smith (Wolverhampton), Tom Jones (Wolverhampton) Dan Hart (Stourport on Severn)