SEDGLEY Park general manager Geoff Roberts believes his players should take great confidence from Saturday’s 33-31 defeat at table-toppers Stourbridge.

The Tigers were missing a whole host of first-choice players and were forced to field an untried and untested back-line at the unbeaten Midlanders.

And after a tit-for-tat opening half hour, Roberts would have been forgiven for fearing the worst when the home side opened up a 14-point lead.

But Sedgley came roaring back and would have been on level terms inside 60 minutes had Steve Collins been able to convert their fifth try of the day.

The Tigers then laid siege to the Stourbridge try line for the remainder of the match but were unable to eke out the winning score their play deserved.

“We came home as though we had won it – it felt like we had,” said Roberts.

“It was a fantastic performance.

“I think we won the second half 19-7.

“After getting back into the game for the last 20 minutes it was all us.

“They had some big lads in the pack and we started wafting the ball all over the park.

“The Stourbridge lads were out on the feet by the end, they were knackered and just clinging on, but hats off to them they did it, somehow.”

Scores from Danny Maher and Nathan Rushton cancelled out efforts from Stourbridge before a two-try burst on 30 and 35 minutes gave them some breathing space.

Rushton was again on the scoresheet four minutes into the second half, only for Stourbridge to respond with a try of their own four minutes later.

The youthful Sedgley side refused to give in, though, and Callum McShane, playing in an unfamiliar position out on the wing, put them back in it after running the ball over on 52 minutes.

Ollie Glasse brought the score to 33-31 six minute later, scoring a try in only his second game for the first team, but after Collins missed the conversion Stourbridge were able to shut up shop, much to Roberts’ chagrin.

“It was an amazing game, considering our backs had not really played together before,” beamed the Sedgley coach.

“Callum McShane, who is normally a scrum half, played on the wing as he was the only player available who was quick enough to do it.

“Paul Urmston played out of position at scrum half, as did Tom Bedlow at inside centre and Ollie Glass at outside centre. Ollie is normally a full-back and was only playing his second first-team game for us.

“Then we had Harrison Brown-Raw making his debut at full-back.

We got him in from the University of Manchester at the very last minute. He was registered on Friday.

“Against the odds, they did absolutely brilliantly and really gave us something to think about – we seem to have more strength in depth in our squad than I ever realised.

“It would be really difficult to pick a man of the match. It was a really monster team effort across the board. Every member of the team did a great job.”

Sedgley will welcome back senior players Matt Riley, Max Skofic and Ben Black for Saturday’s match at home to Wharfedale, although experienced backs Rob Holloway (international duty) and Andy Riley (honeymoon) are still missing.

Despite Saturday’s defeat, the two bonus points Roberts’ men picked up for scoring five tries moved them to within one point of second-place, which is shared by Hinkley and Tynedale.

And the Sedgley coach feels confident they will eat into Stourbridge’s nine-point lead before the turn of the year.

“We approach the half-way point of the season in a pretty good position,” he added.

“We have played all of the top six teams, while Stourbridge have Sale, South Leicester, Hinkley and Tynedale, who are all in the top six, coming up before Christmas.”