The new boys are coming thick and fast for Sheffield Tigers in the ever testing environment of National 2 North.
Last weekend, they edged out Birmingham and Solihull 23-17 in the first ever encounter between the two sides at this level and on Saturday they travel to the delightfully sounding Dudley Kingswinford for another historic ‘first.’
Tigers are now getting to grips with life in this league as three wins on the bounce suggests after their opening day defeat at Hull Ionians. In contrast the West Midlands side are, not surprisingly, still finding their feet, although they have tasted victory in their four games so far, a 32-29 home success over Leicester Lions and they came mighty close to upsetting second placed Otley going down 34-32.
It sees them sixth from bottom with seven points, while Tigers stand seventh from top with 13, just seven adrift of leaders Stourbridge.
The Dore Moor side took just four minutes to open their account against Birmingham courtesy of a Tom Outram penalty but it was shortlived as a missed tackle out wide allowed the visitors skipper to score an unconverted try.
Shortly after a Bees forward was yellow-carded for upending Jamie Broadley but the pressure was wasted when Charlie Cone went over but the try was ruled out for crossing.
However with a quarter of the match gone, centre Peter Swatkins put over a great drop goal from 35 metres to edge Tigers in front once more.
Outram, who controlled the game with good territorial kicks, saw his long penalty kick hit a post and come back into play but from another penalty, Tigers extended their lead when scrum half Alex Drage dived over after a resultant catch and drive. There was still time for Outram’s trusty boot to bag another penalty as his side took a 16-5 advantage into the break.
The gap was shortened to four points within four minutes of the restart when the Bees carved out a converted try. Tigers responded by making three substitutions - Anthony Ross for Charlie Cone, Anton O’Donnell for Dave Price and Frank Wragg for Callum Mackenzie - and the fresh forwards pid dividends when from another catch and drive penalty the pack drove the opposition over their try line and Ross surfaced with the ball. Outram nailed the conversion to gave Tigers an 11 point cushion again.
As the full-time whistle loomed Birmingham scored out wide, Outram missed out on a long range drop goal and the visitors very nearly scored again but Tigers held on.
Dudley Kingswinford awaits.
Team: Cone (Ross), Price (O’Donnell), Chivers, Joel, Hayter, Walker, Mackenzie (Wragg), Pearson N(C), Drage (Holmes), Outram, Broadley, Buchanan (Graham), Swatkins, Wallace, Styles. Man of the Match: Richard Joel – powerful in the scrum and excellent turnovers.