Worcestershire & Herefordshire booked their place in this season’s Iskitz Three Counties Championship final by trouncing holders Shropshire 57-10 at Kidderminster Carolians’ Marlpool Lane ground this evening.
The win followed a walkover from last week’s cancelled match against Greater Birmingham and took W&H through to the final at Newport on May 14.
It also avenged a defeat by Shropshire in last season’s final and meant a disappointing start to Shropshire’s attempt to win the title for a fourth successive season.
Old Halesonians’ number eight Max Macfarlane scored a second half hat-trick of tries to help Worcestershire & Herefordshire ease to victory but it was then pace and power of their back division that laid the foundations for their nine try win.
Despite the grim weather conditions of heavy rain, a thunderstorm, sleet and numbing cold, Worcestershire & Herefordshire played some enterprising handling rugby and had the game safely wrapped up by half time when they led 24-3.
Fly-half Oli Rayner (Old Halesonians) struck first when he ghosted through some poor Shropshire tackling and converted his own try although Will Sparrow (Ludlow) pulled back three points for Shropshire after nine minutes.
But three tries in a 10 minute period late in the first half quickly ended Shropshire’s victory hopes as W&H captain Ed Parry (Dudley Kingswinford) was driven over from close range and flanker Tom Dodge of Worcester Wanderers crossed twice with Rayner adding two more conversions.
Macfarlane set up centre Olly Meadows (Worcester Wanderers) for a try early in the second half before Old Halesonians full-back Andy Holloway powered over.
Macfarlane then began his scoring spree which was briefly interrupted by a consolation try from Shropshire from Richard Hooper (Bridgnorth) which was improved by Sparrow.
Shropshire will host Greater Birmingham in the final group match next Tuesday (May 3) to decide who will meet W&H in the final.
The match has been switched to Telford Hornets from Shrewsbury as Shrewsbury are in the process of replacing the goalposts at their Sundorne Castle ground and the work is unlikely to be completed in time.