INJURIES caught up with Sedgley Tigers in 33-29 defeat at relegation-threatened Stourbridge.
Tigers were without 11 first-team players due to injury, and the mass absence was evident, despite a spirited fightback.
Long-term injuries Henno Venter, Garth Dew, Dan Hall, Luke Wooley and Phil Largen were joined on the treatment table last week by Billy Emerson, Simon Parrott, Chris Parrott, Jimmy Lloyd and Mike Dutton, with Richard Oxley out with illness.
The situation got worse at Stourbridge when Richard Wainwright’s season was ended with a broken collar bone.
Winger Largen is ready to return in Saturday’s home game against Rosslyn Park (2.30pm kick off) after missing most of the season.
“He came through a second team game at the weekend,” said Tigers head coach Rich Senior. “He’s all right, so he’ll be back. And we’ll need him.
“We thought we would be getting one or two of them back in the side earlier in the week. But they didn’t make it and we lost one or two more.
“We scraped a side together. We’ve got a bigger squad this season than last, but if you get a lot of injuries in the same position you’re in trouble, and that’s what’s happened.
“The injuries cost us against Stourbridge. We went down 16-3 and then came back and could have sneaked it at the end.
“The defeat was down to the injuries. We lost four line-outs on the trot in the first half and never recovered.
“We showed a lot of spirit to come back the way we did, and I was pleased with that, and we got two points which will help us.
“But we were disappointed because we thought the game was there for the taking.”
Jamie Harrison, Scott Wright, Danny Birchall and Dave Livesey scored the tries, with Matt Riley converting three and scoring a penalty.
Tigers are not absolutely certain of retaining their place in National League One, but it would take virtually a miracle sequence of results to see them go down.
“We are 18 points ahead of Birmingham with four games to play,” said Senior.
“They have to win all their games and we need to get no points at all to go down.
“But we’re not looking at it like that at all. We want to win every game, which we are capable of, and finish as high as we can.”