Sedgley Park’s 22-game unbeaten streak at Park Lane came to an end on Saturday in an early top-of-the-table clash against Rams.

Tigers were looking to build on what had been an impressive start to their campaign in National League One with a last-minute win against Richmond, and a dominant performance away from home at Birmingham Moseley, which ended 44-21 to Sedgley.

However, the newly-promoted side had a tough test in front of them as they faced a strong Rams side who had also started well. Rams went into the game off the back of two bonus-point victories, including a come-from-behind victory versus Chinnor.

It was the home team who took the lead first from a penalty kick just inside the Rams half, courtesy of Warren Seals, which flew between the sticks.

Rams responded well with lovely move that saw the ball shifted from left to right, which eventually led to a gap in the Tigers’ defence. A delightful phase of play was finished off with a try under the sticks by Rams scrum-half, Edward Hoadley, and converted by Fraser Honey.

The Tigers kept the score close through another penalty by Seals, but the visitors soon extended their lead after a maul had drove Rams close to Sedgley Park’s five-metre line. The ball was eventually muscled free and was bundled over the line by prop Niall Kidd, with Honey adding the extras. Honey also added a further sting to the Tigers with a successful penalty kick which meant the away side entered the break with a 17-6 lead.

The first half had been a tightly-contested game. The Tigers had seen a large portion of the ball but couldn’t find a breakthrough of a stout Rams defence.

Keen to change their fortune, the Tigers started ferociously after the break with a blistering run from winger Rhys Henderson, which saw him brought down around the five-metre line. A silky offload to captain Matt Riley set the Tigers on their way to getting back into the game as he placed the ball down over the try line with Seals converting.

However, a rapid reply by the visitors from hooker Max Hayman and conversion from Honey was less than ideal.

Sedgley star man, Andy Riley, tried his best to keep Sedgley in the game with penetrating runs and brave catches from full-back, but Rams took further control of the game with tries from Benjamin Atkins and Daniel Swain.

The Tigers did reduce to the deficit with a try from Danny Maher and conversion from Seals, which had the potential to spark a comeback, but a nasty collision involving two Sedgley players left number eight Tom Ailes in a heap, but he thankfully got up okay.

The wind was further knocked out of the Sedgley sails as the tie was sealed with a last-minute score from Henry Bird.

The score line of 44-20 didn’t truly reflect what had been a tight contest for a large portion of the game, but Rams were very clinical in attack and proved why they are one of the favourites to win the league this season.

Speaking after the game, Tigers lock Bob Birtwell felt despite the scoreline, the Tigers weren’t out of their depth against a strong showing Rams side.

Birtwell said: “You can tell by the scoreline we have been in a battle. It’s the first time we have been beaten at home in two years. I think that we all feel a bit gutted about it shows we know we can compete with a team like Rams. We’ve got lots to learn but we get back on it next week with a game against Chinnor.”

The Tigers will have an opportunity to bounce back with a match against Chinnor at Park Lane on Saturday.