BROMSGROVE RFC head coach Dan Protherough hailed the impact of tight-head prop Ethan Priest, after his hat-trick of tries sent the Boars on the way to a 52-17 win over Stoke-on-Trent at the weekend.
The emphatic win means the club require just two more points to ensure that they are crowned champions of Midlands 1 West.
Drew Harper, Will Harris, Oliver Wem and Josh Holt all crossed the whitewash en route to victory, while Harris kicked the extra points from conversions to build a commanding lead for the Boars.
It was not entirely plain sailing for Bromsgrove though, with Stoke leading 14-17 at half-time.
Protherough believed it came as no surprise that their opponents proved such a test, but attributes the win to the changes made leading up to the interval.
“It was a tough game, we were prepared for a battle.
“Stoke started the better team, we were slow out of the blocks, and the lads had to grit it out to get into the game.
“We changed things around in the last ten minutes of the first-half and we started to grind them down. We got on top early in the second-half and it went for us from there.”
The Boars head coach pinpointed Priest as one of the reasons for the dominance Bromsgrove enjoyed in the second-half, praising his improved performance after the break.
“I thought had a sluggish first 25 minutes, but then he was like a man possessed in the second half.
“When he’s on his game, it’s very difficult to stop him.
“He put his weight about, and for a player of his size he’s very hard to hold back when he’s got the bit between his teeth.”
The two points that the Boars require to win the division is within touching distance for Protherough’s men, and with four games left to play, he accepts that it’s very likely that his side will see it out.
But Protherough maintains that the mentality of his team won’t be affected, and that they will be focusing on getting the result and nothing else in their next fixture against Stourbridge Lions, a week on Saturday (March 23).
“We obviously know what we have to do to win the title, but we’re just prepared for another tough game against Stourbridge.
“They need to win to ensure survival, but we’re full of confidence going into it.
“We’re trying to focus on the game and what we’re about, if we do that then we’ve got a chance.”
The Boars have a weekend off before that contest, and Protherough intends to use the break to his advantage.
“We’ll be using the week of to give the players a bit of rest, we’ve had a few nights off training this week but its important to make sure the players have some mental freshness.
“The sessions towards the end of the week will mostly be light, more enjoyable sessions, but we’ll be back to normal training next week.
“It’s important at this time of the year to give the lads some downtime if anything, you can’t underestimate the importance of being fresh going into future games.”