BROMSGROVE'S progress through to the fourth round of the trophy for English junior rugby football clubs has been anything but convincing.

A bye in round one, a win by a single point at home to Cleobury Mortimer in round two and on Saturday, progress on the 'away team' rule against Aston Old Edwardians -- not the sort of form that suggests Bromsgrove could be the eventual winners.

Aston had every justification to feel disappointed at the final whistle. Whilst Bromsgrove had a slightly greater share of possession, Aston were always more expansive and adventurous with the ball in their hands. Bromsgrove's tactic of running the ball back to their pack was understandable and finally carried the day even if it was not pretty to watch.

Bromsgrove's forwards had no trouble in winning their ball at both line-out and scrum and even stole a few from Aston's put-in, but the home side's defence was able to contain all Bromsgrove threw at it. By contrast, Bromsgrove's backs and particularly the wings were tested time and again.

Aston, bent on a bit of giant killing, started the game with great energy and enthusiasm and for the first 15 minutes put Bromsgrove under pressure. A Matt Birch penalty goal against the run of play failed to subdue the home side and their continued attack was soon rewarded with a penalty goal by fly half Bennett to level the score. Aston's early surge began to falter but the Bromsgrove revival had only another Birch penalty goal to show for the 15 minutes of pressure leading up to half time.

The second half started in a frenzied manner with both sides striving for physical domination. Two Bromsgrove forwards and the Aston fly half were sin-binned for ten minutes in quick succession as the referee strove to restore order. Aston were not slow to capitalise on their brief numbers advantage as they forced the game to the Bromsgrove line and levelled the score with a Gary Street penalty goal.

Bromsgrove hung on until back to full strength and then followed their strongest period of play. The Bromsgrove pack put enormous pressure on the Aston line but the home side were stubborn in their resistance.

Finally, with frustration reaching boiling point, prop Steve Phillips drove through a mass of forwards and dived in for a try in the corner but no conversion.

Aston were not finished. Time and again ground hard earned by the Bromsgrove pack was lost when Aston fly half Bennett used ball won to put in huge diagonal kicks for his eager and pacy wingers to chase.

From a strong territorial position after such a chase, and with five minutes to go, Aston won a good ball and moved it along the line for full back Neil Bradley, coming in to make the overlap, to score in the corner.

Aston's cup of woe overflowed when Bennett's long range conversion attempt hit the post and bounced out.

Extra time, a nail biting ten minutes each way, came and went with no addition to the score and with both teams striving for the extra energy to keep going. The prize was Bromsgrove's but the glory was Aston's.

Results: Kidderminster Third XV 12 Bromsgrove Second XV 62; Bromsgrove Fourth XV 46 Stourport Second XV 0; Camp Hill Vets 20 Bromsgrove Crusaders 10.