SEDGLEY Park general manager Geoff Roberts praised the battling qualities of his side as they bridged the gap at the top of National Two North with a 31-14 win at Sheffield last weekend.

On a day when leaders Hinckley suffered a shock defeat at Chester, the Tigers ran in four tries across the Pennines to edge closer to the summit.

Scores from Steve Collins, Nathan Rushton, Callum McShane and Jamie Harrison, plus four conversions and a penalty from Collins secured the away triumph.

But while the scoreline appears comfortable, Roberts admits his team had to work harder than in any other game this season to get the win.

Roberts told the Bury Times: "It was a really physical game and tougher than I expected it to be if I'm honest.

"They threw everything at us and while we had a lot of territory and attacked a lot, Sheffield defended really well.

"We targeted their ball carriers and that paid off for us."

A Collins penalty gave Sedgley the lead on seven minutes before he crossed the whitewash on 18 minutes and converted his own try.

On the stroke of half time, Rushton went over and another Collins conversion made it 17-0 at the midway point.

Roberts added: "We led 17-0 at half time and that was hard work to get.

"They had a bit of territory after the break and scored from a driving maul.

"After that it was back to business for us with two more tries until the dying minutes when they crossed again.

"The referee gave them penalty after penalty at the end but in truth they deserved their second try.

"It was one of the most physical games we have had and on that showing Sheffield do not really deserve to be down the bottom end of the table.

"The win was pleasing and then to some off and hear that Hinckley lost make it interesting coming to the halfway stage of the season."

Sedgley have another tough away test on Saturday as they visit Sale Fc in their final match of 2017.

They then have a two-week break before resuming against more of the teams in the top half as the second half of the campaign gets under way.

But Roberts is confident his side, who are the top try scorers in the division, can continue to press at the top end of the table.

He said: "Sale will be another tough game and we know that as they are neck and neck with us in the table just a place above us.

"They will also be smarting from their defeat at our place in September.

"But we are confident at the minute and are playing an exciting brand of rugby so we go there looking to end the year on a high.

"We are the top try scorers in the division and have won the most bonus points and the fans have been pleased with what they have been watching which is always nice to hear.

"If we can continue that in the second half of the season, starting with good performances against those around us in the first few weeks of the year, then we can have a good second half of the season."