Sedgley Tigers picked up in the new year where they left off in 2022 in National Two North with another victory - this time at Preston Grasshoppers.

And coach Steve Hazzelby was pleased with his side’s display in the 46-7 win that extended their perfect start of 13 wins from 13 league games.

He said: “We had beaten Preston convincingly earlier in September but were taking nothing for granted especially after the long lay-off and their recent improved form.

“This was a well-deserved win for the team and a special mention to all of the bench players who came on a played their part in maintaining the unbeaten run and top spot in National Two North.”

Sedgley started strongly at Preston, taking the game to the home team and testing their defences in their half.

A penalty 10 metres out saw the forwards catch-and-drive for number eight Tom Ailes to touch down. Steve Collins added the conversion to put them 7-0 up within the first five minutes.

This was followed 15 minutes later with a well-worked try for right-winger Rhys Henderson who touched down in the corner after great phase play within Preston’s 22.

The hosts responded with a good score of their own after their scrum-half broke from the base of the scrum to touch down near the posts and put them back in the game at 12-7.

The visitors replied with a second try for Ailes after another powerful catch-and-drive by the forwards and Collins added the conversion to make it 19-7 at the interval.

Even though the Tigers had a good lead, they knew they had not played that well and that improvement was needed if they were to take the points and Collins converted a penalty at the start of the second half to extend the lead to 22-7.

Sedgley had made a number of changes which gave them the energy and momentum to go on and stretch Preston’s defences at every opportunity.

A fourth and bonus-point try came on the 60-minute mark when hooker Danny Maher touched down after another powerful catch-and-drive by the forwards 10 metres out.

This was followed 10 minutes later with a fine try for replacement Oscar Crowe, who came off a short pass from scrum-half, Jacob Tansey, to burst over the line. Collins added his third conversion to make it 34-7 going into the last 10 minutes with no way back for Preston.

A lineout 25 metres out saw the ball moved swiftly right by the backs for left-winger, Jamie Harrison, to join the line, outstrip the defence and touch down for a sixth try.

Then, right at the end of the match, came the seventh and probably best score for the visitors when, from a scrum deep within their 22, Ailes broke from the base to make a 20-metre line break. He fed replacement Tane Bentley, who then fed Harrison and he ran 50 metres to touch down under the posts. Collins added the conversion to wrap up the scoring.

On Saturday, Sedgley are at home to Yorkshire rivals Harrogate with supporters welcome at Park Lane.