SEDGLEY Park manager Geoff Roberts has challenged the club’s fringe players to make a name for themselves in this weekend’s clash at National Two North leaders Stourbridge.

The Tigers are missing almost half of their first-team squad for what will arguably be their toughest encounter of the season so far.

Those unavailable for selection include experienced backs Matt and Andy Riley, as well as number seven Max Skofic and full-back Rob Holloway, who are both on international duty.

Tight-head prop Ben Black is at a family wedding in South Africa, while fellow front-row forward Max Ashcroft heads a lengthy injury list.

In total, at least 14 of the club’s regular 32 front-line players will miss the trip to the West Midlands.

But Roberts wants those players given an opportunity to grasp it with both hands.

“Clearly, I will be grateful for any points we can bring home from Stourbridge but, given the circumstances, I am very happy with the quality of squad we have been able to put together,” he said.

“Despite the numbers missing we will still be taking a very strong group, which is testament to the strength in depth we have built up at the club.

“It will be interesting to see how those players handle it who have not had too many opportunities so far this campaign.

“This match really gives them a chance to make a name for themselves and show us what they have got.”

One player who did that last weekend was stand-in hooker Cashel Chilvers, who scored the last of five tries in a 31-13 win at home to Luctonians. Chilvers replaced Simon Phillips in the front row with 13 minutes remaining and showed his brute strength to touch down a minute later after running half the length of the pitch.

Roberts added: “Cashel has moved to the area from South Wales and has made three substitute appearances for the first team.

“His try certainly caught the eye. He ripped the ball from an opponent’s hands in a tackle just inside the Luctonians half and then ran the ball to the line with one or two of their players still holding on to him, which was great to see.”

Sedgley surged into a 21-0 lead inside the opening 20 minutes as a combination of pace and slick passing saw them cross the line three times.

Andy Riley ran in the first try on five minutes before Callum McShane and Jamie Harrison followed him over, with Steve Collins kicking all three conversion attempts.

Luctonians clawed their way back into it with a try from Adam Clayton, converted by Tom Jones, who also kicked two out of three penalty attempts to bring the visitors to within eight points of the hosts.

Roberts admitted the match could have gone either way as Sedgley struggled to reassert their authority before Matt Riley broke the stand-off with a try on 66 minutes and Chilvers barged over to round off the scoring try two minutes later.

Sedgley remain third in the table after the victory, but are now just two points behind second-placed Tynedale, who fell to their first defeat of the campaign.

Tynedale take on fourth-placed Hinkley on Saturday in what could be an illuminating weekend in the National Two North title race.

Roberts added: “I think this weekend is a free hit for us really as we are away from home. Even if we lose a bit of ground, we will have played seven of the top eight sides after Saturday’s match, whereas Stourbridge have only played one team in the top half in their opening eight matches.

“Our start has been much tougher than our rivals’, who are all starting to come up against each other now, so win, lose or draw I will be happy with our position in the table, considering the matches we have played.”