Upton continue to struggle ahead of local derby under floodlights

Upton continue to struggle ahead of local derby under floodlights

Upton continue to struggle ahead of local derby under floodlights

First published in Sport

UPTON'S lacklustre end to the season continued with a poor second-half performance in a 33-13 home defeat to Cheltenham North.

In warm conditions, Upton started brightly against a team intent on trying to wind up the young home side in the Midlands Three West (South) clash.

Chris O’Neil opened the scoring with a penalty before player-coach Stuart Brooks took quick ball 10 metres out and powered over for a score in the corner.

O’Neil missed the conversion to make the score 8-0.

Upton were winning the scrum and line-out battle but things took a turn for the worse when prop Brooks went off injured.

The hosts' advantage in the scrum ended and so did their chances of winning the match.

North used their big back row to make inroads into the Upton half and scored two converted tries before half-time to lead 14-8.

Upton started to get tired, particularly the forwards who had no more replacements in the wings.

They struggled to win clean ball at the breakdown and therefore could not unleash their backs.

However, with 20 minutes to go, number eight Max Macfarlane made a break from within his own half and made 40 metres before feeding Alex Pimlow, who raced in from 15 metres out wide.

But O’Neil missed the conversion and, with Upton still a point behind, the game went immediately away from them.

From the restart, Upton were awarded a scrum but fed the ball illegally and North took a quick tap penalty and made it to within 10 metres.

Chris Thomas was adjudged offside, sent to the sin-bin and, from the resulting line-out, North drove over to make it 19-13.

Upton needed to chase the game but, with injuries mounting, North had a spring in their step.

The visitors scored two more converted tries in the final five minutes to run away with a bonus-point victory.

Upton face Ledbury in a local derby on Good Friday under the Old Street floodlights (7.30pm) in what they hope will be an entertaining end to the season.

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