HOLDERS Worcestershire and Herefordshire booked their Three Counties Championship final place with a 27-15 win over Greater Birmingham.

The victory in a thrilling last group match at Stourbridge means the same sides meet again at Telford Hornets on March 13, dashing Shropshire’s bid to make the showpiece event.

All three finished with a win apiece but the two counties topped the table with the bonus-point victory and a losing bonus point against Shropshire.

Birmingham, who had a bonus-point win over Shropshire, played a full part in a fast, open affair.

With better finishing they might have ended the champions’ quest for a fourth successive title.

But a try in each half from Bromsgrove's Drew Harper on his debut and Kidderminster Carolians' Arthur Morgan 15 minutes from time proved decisive.

Both sides contended with a strong downfield wind but Worcestershire and Herefordshire made better use of it in the second half.

Birmingham went ahead midway through the first half when centre TJ Clarke crossed near the posts from a quick tap penalty and full-back Joel James converted.

But Birmingham’s failure to turn pressure into points with the wind at their backs proved costly.

The two counties' pressure counted when Bromsgrove prop Cam Simpson burrowed over and KCs fly-half Freddie Morgan converted.

Harper went over from close range for his first try after 34 minutes before James and Freddie Morgan traded penalties to give the two counties a 15-10 lead.

Freddie Morgan missed a penalty early in the second half and Birmingham wasted a kickable chance.

The two counties were more clinical and number eight Harper muscled over while Birmingham locks Adam Lee and Sam Rhodds were in the sin-bin.

The conversion was missed but Birmingham kicked away possession and wing Arthur Morgan raced away from his own 22 for a try that his brother improved.

Prop Julius Hunt barrelled over five minutes from time but Birmingham had too much to do.

Meanwhile, Hereford's Jack Goodwin starts for the Midlands against the South West at the England Counties Under 18s National Development Weekend at Stourbridge on Friday (3.30pm).