Sheffield Tigers captain David Bradford admitted it was a fantastic end to a tough week as the SEE National League Two North strugglers got back to winning ways against Bromsgrove on Saturday.
Heading into the basement battle with fellow relegation threatened Bromsgrove, the Tigers had not tasted victory since January 18 as they occupied a place in the drop zone.
And their preparations for the crucial clash were not helped with the news that director of rugby Dan Richmond had stepped down.
Assistant coach David Holmes stepped into the breach and the Tigers repaid him with a 28-10 victory, Nick Thomson grabbing two scores and Ben Buxton and Tom Outram helping themselves to a try each – the latter adding eight points from the kicking tee.
And Bradford was delighted to end a difficult period on a high as the Tigers gave themselves a chance to escape the drop zone.
“It was nice that in the last play of the game we managed to produce a try. The boys were just playing in the moment,” said Bradford, whose Tigers are now 12 points from safety.
“We are happy with the result. The boys have had a hard week. In the end it was one of our best performances of the season in terms of the situation.
“We were playing a side in a similar position and we are both fighting relegation. A lot of hard work went into that win with the forwards doing the hard work which freed up the backs to good effect.
“We said before the match we won’t look at it as a relegation battle. We are not seeing it as that. For us, it’s just a case of getting back to basics and whatever happens happens.
“A lot of the heads were down after last week’s loss [at relegation rivals Hull]. It was very disappointing to lose. A win would have left it in our hands instead of looking for results elsewhere.
“But saying that, this was a massive result. It doesn’t matter about the changes in the backroom staff, it’s about us – whoever is in charge is not there in your boots.”
The visitors made the early running and opened with a penalty from Jonathan Critchlow, but from a quickly taken tap penalty taken on by the pack, Tigers centre Thompson skipped around would-be defenders for a try to give the home side the lead and a 5-3 scoreline at the interval.
In the second period Tigers went further ahead with a try from Buxton following a break by Jonathan Buchanan who, although tackled short, was driven on by the pack sucking in defenders creating the space for the tighthead to dive over.
A brilliant individual effort by Outram from inside his own half taking on the Bromsgrove winger and centre brought up the third, the fly-half also adding the conversion.
Bromsgrove hit back with a try from Solomon Dacres again from a quickly taken tap penalty, the replacement openside capitalising on the slowness of the opposition to organise their defence.
The try was converted by Critchlow but in the final minutes Thomson went over for his second and the bonus score on the back of some forceful play from the Sheffield pack.
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