Three-game run is crucial for Greyhound's survival in Midlands Four West (North) (From Hereford Times)
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Three-game run is crucial for Greyhound's survival in Midlands Four West (North)
Updated 11:34am Thursday 23rd January 2014 in Sport
IT'S one down and two to go after victory in the first of what manager Mark Jones believes will be a crucial run of three Midlands Four West (North) games for the Dogs.
After having been promoted last season, achieving an unbeaten season in the process, it was always going to be a baptism of fire for the Greyhound players in a tougher more competitive division.
With Greyhound sitting just above the bottom two this has proved to be the case but victory over basement club St Leonards may be a catalyst in a bid to turn his sides fortunes around.
“This is a crucial time for us," said Jones. "We’ve targeted the next three games, which started with St Leonards and then moving forward on to Tenbury and Warley in the next two weeks.
"So it’s a very important time for us and vital in achieving our goal of staying up this season.”
Greyhound could not have made a better start to the targeted games as they overcame a strong St Leonards side with a 21-12 victory with a performance by the players that captain Jamie Gibbons was extremely proud of.
“The conditions were tough today but I was proud of the way we dug in deep and stuck to our game plan the way we did," said the skipper.
"We wanted to make sure we won this game, the first of the games we’ve targeted. "The main thing is to grind out the results and get the wins under our belt to steer us towards mid-table and safety.”
The second game in the run of three is away at Tenbury next week. Greyhound currently sit one place above their local rivals and as Joe Morris explained it is imperative to carry the momentum forward to next Saturday’s game.
“Tenbury next week should be a good game but a very hard game," he said.
"They are going to be a tough side to play against and conditions like today will really favour their style of play but we are looking forward to getting on a bit of run to get us up the table.
"After a really bad scoreline for us, losing 97-0 against an unbelievable Harborne side, the boys have been keen to regain some pride and go out and put the performances in that we believe we are capable of as we showed today against St Leonards.”
There was no doubting the commitment levels of the Greyhound players as they earned themselves a vital win in the battle to avoid the drop against the division’s bottom side, in extremely poor conditions.
With the conditions so poor it was always going to be a battle of attrition and, with half-time looming and Greyhound trailing by a point, Matt Swain converted his third penalty of the game and then from the restart broke through a couple of tackles to race clear to give his side a 16-7 interval lead.
With conditions worsening, the second half was a poor affair and it took 30 minutes for the Dogs to make the game safe as Tom Dickenson picked the ball up from the bottom of a ruck to drive over from five metres out.
Despite a late St Leonards try, Greyhound managed to hold on for a vital win in their battle for survival.