Oswestry 10, Kings Norton 15

KINGS Norton lifted the first ever North Midlands Vase with this hard-fought victory over Shropshire side Oswestry at Stourbridge.

And they suffered an early set-back when Oswestry opened the scoring after just four minutes with a simple penalty in front of the posts.

This spurred the Hopwood side into action and five minutes later, following a great forward move upfield, fly-half Ken Whitehouse levelled with a penalty when Oswestry strayed offside.

Kings' superior lineout work, tight scrummaging and tenacious tackling controlled the rest of the half; and they might have advanced their score, if Whitehouse's two long-range penalty kicks had found their mark.

A number of changes at the start of the second half saw Oswestry begin to cause problems in the set pieces. The Welsh Borders side began to impose themselves, launching wave upon wave of attacks through the middle. But they were stunned on 55 minutes when Ken Whitehouse cleverly intercepted on his own 22 metre line and out-sprinted a despairing defence to touch down under the posts, adding the conversion himself.

Kings now had their tails up, soundly defending everything thrown at them and it came as no great surprise when they increased their lead five minutes later through full-back John Hefford who seized upon a loose ball deep in his own half and burst through the Oswestry line for a fine unconverted try.

Leading 15-3, Kings controlled the game for long periods before Oswestry finally created the gap needed and a powerful drive forced their flanker over for a converted try.

Changes in the final 15 minutes freshened up the Norton defence and excellent line kicking thwarted Oswestry's efforts and secure the win.

The Hopwood side must now wait a couple of weeks to find out how reorganisation of the North Midlands League structure will affect them for next season.