Express & Star

Willenhall upset higher-division Stafford in cup

Some strong rearguard action ensured Willenhall made the semi-finals of the Staffordshire Intermediate Cup with an eye-catching 36-12 win over Stafford.

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Despite trailing 12-5 at the break, the hosts came out strongly in the second half and were ruthless on their way to victory and progression into the last four.

Willenhall, who play their league rugby one step below Stafford in Counties Two Midlands West (West), started the game strongly and took advantage of a sinbin to score an early try.

Colton McLaughlin and Ben Adams scored a try each to give Stafford a deserved lead at the break.

But a strong second-half display from the hosts saw them score 31 points unanswered, built off the back of a devastatingly strong scrum that laid the platform for several second-half tries.

Willenhall’s victory sets up a semi-final against another Counties One Midlands West (North) side Burntwood, who won their quarter-final match against Longton 87-7.

The winner of Rugeley and Handsworth’s quarter-final will also move within one step of a chance at silverware.

The victorious side will face Newcastle in the last four after they beat Uttoxeter 103-3 in their knockout game.

In the first round of the Owen Cup, Eccleshall won 40-5 at Bloxwich to set up a second-round tie with Barton in November.

Cannock will play the winner of Trentham versus Whittington, while Stone host St Leonards and Wednesbury host Essington.

Turning the attention to a quiet weekend of league rugby, Jasper Smith hat-trick wasn’t enough to earn Dudley Kingswinford their second win of the season in National Two West.

They went down 43-21 at Dings Crusaders, despite taking an early lead when Smith’s first try was converted by Frederick Morgan.

Dudley went into half-time 20-7 down and couldn’t mount a comeback despite scoring two more converted tries after the break.

In Regional Two Midlands North, Wolverhampton’s horror start continued with a fifth consecutive defeat, this time 43-19 at home to Melbourne.

And in Counties Four Midlands West (South), Warley continued their charge up the table with a 23-0 win over Bishop’s Castle & Onny Valley.

Stourport find themselves bottom of the division after their fourth loss from their first four games. They welcomed fourth-placed Redditch, a side they won against twice last season, but were beaten 19-10 by the visitors.