RUGBY: Leaders Saints open five-point gap at top of the table

Kristen Enefer scored a hat-trick of tries in Saints 58-6 win    (file picture)
Kristen Enefer scored a hat-trick of tries in Saints 58-6 win (file picture)

Seventh win in a row, with ten tries against Old Wheatleyans on Saturday

Midlands 3 West (South)

Rugby St Andrews 58

Old Wheatleyans 6

Saints moved to the top of the table with a commanding all round performance against brave but outclassed Old Wheatleyans.

In conditions that were not really conducive to expansive rugby they notched up ten tries with some scintillating running and handling on the back of powerful driving play from a dominant pack.

A series of unforced errors and the concession of needless penalties delayed the arrival of their opening score until the 17th minute, by which time Wheats had taken full advantage of Saints’ indiscipline to land a well struck penalty.

Improved continuity paid dividends with a brace of tries from Kristen Enefer and Spencer Brown but another lapse in concentration was punished by a second penalty goal. Despite valiant efforts by OWs for the rest of the game this was to be their last success as Saints’ miserly defence closed down any attacking threats on or behind the gain line.

In a ten-minute spell of total rugby they then ran in three tries. Grant Taylor grabbed the first. Enefer finished off a sweeping move covering 80 metres and involving half the side and Bryn Jones left a trail of would-be tacklers behind him with a brilliant solo run from the half way line.

Ryan Taylor’s second successful conversion brought an end to the half for a 29–6 lead and the try bonus in the bag.

The second half followed a familiar pattern. Wheats contrived to bludgeon their way through their forwards or big centres without posing any serious problems whereas Saints varied both the method and points of attack.

Powerful driving mauls were consistently making inroads and sucking in defenders before providing the backs with quality front foot ball. A counter attack from a wayward clearance gave Enefer a clear run to the line but he avoided a hat-trick jug by passing to Ryan Taylor in the in goal area.

The ploy failed with the next attack after just a couple of minutes when he had no option but to score himself. Spencer Brown went in for his second try before being replaced by Ryan Sabin, who then finished off another fine movement and added the conversion.

Wheats roused themselves for one last effort and they piled on the pressure in search of at least a consolation score. They were thwarted at the cost of several penalties and a yellow card and then fell to a rapid counter which ended with the final try by Dave Rudd.

This was a fine team performance by Saints but credit also goes to Old Wheats who struggled to find 15 fit players but still honoured a fixture in the realisation that their weakened side was on to a hiding. The fact that they were still pushing for points in the last minutes of the game speaks volumes for their pride and commitment.

Saints are the fourth club to head the table and there are still at least five clubs still in with a reasonable chance of securing promotion. They have no game this week but host Woodrush next Saturday. The Birmingham side had a flying start to the season and headed the table for a while but their form since their win over Saints in early November has been poor and they have slipped down to eighth place. At full strength they are difficult opponents with some dangerous backs so, once again, Saints will need to maintain their recent high standards if they are to hold on to the top spot.