31st Mar, 2020

Monners stoke fire for survival push - Hunter

Ben Tyler 12th Mar, 2020

BLAIR Hunter says last weekend’s 23-10 victory at Stoke on Trent can be the catalyst for Droitwich’s survival bid in Midlands One West.

Four unconverted tries – two from Phil Horton and one each from Nico Mason and James Horrocks – plus two penalties from Gregor MacLeod carried the Monners to a sixth victory this term and just their second this calendar year.

Twelfth-placed Droitwich remain inside the bottom three by a point, though Hunter is confident the club can secure survival in their six remaining fixtures.

“We’re hoping that this result can be the trigger for our season,” said the Monners coach. For everyone else in the division it was an unexpected result. For us it was a massive relief. We’ve been under the cosh since Christmas through injuries, unavailability and because of the weather.

“We still didn’t have a fully fit squad to go to Stoke, but we managed to go and win.

“We were playing in very windy conditions; there were a couple of conversions from just in front of the posts that we couldn’t put over.

“It’s quite a drive up there and it can be quite draining, but we got there, prepared well and got over the line.

“Our defence was magnificent. They had passages of play for five or six minutes at a time – which is a long time in rugby – but we just defended and forced them into errors, they had no plan B or C.”

Hunter said the squad will be at 85 to 90 per cent in terms of availability to travel to Newbold on Avon on Saturday (3pm), with the picture in terms of injuries becoming a lot more positive.

Droitwich will, however, be without Chris Hooper and Mason for Saturday’s rearranged trip, with the pair having already made prior arrangements.

Newbold claimed a straightforward 33-0 victory in October’s reverse fixture but the Monners were 15-10 victors on their last trip to Parkfield Road last March and were one of only two sides – the other being Dudley Kingswinford – to win on Newbold’s pitch in the 2018/19 season.

“Considering we beat them there last year, they’ll be looking for a revenge mission,” said Hunter.

“They’re a club that massively pride themselves on their home form, but considering that this is another game that’s been re-arranged, they might also have some players out as well.

“We just didn’t show up when we played them earlier this season. We were not in the right frame of mind that day and they took us to the cleaners.”

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