Hopes stay alive as the Blues show their strength in depth

Action from Wellingborough's win over Melton Mowbray last weekend.
Action from Wellingborough's win over Melton Mowbray last weekend.
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Kettering are still harbouring hopes of breaking in to Midlands One East’s top two after a positive start to the year.

They moved closer to second-placed Old Northamptonians by beating their rivals 15-8 in their first match of 2017 and followed that up with a 29-7 success at Paviors last weekend.

Action from Wellingborough's win over Melton Mowbray last weekend.

Action from Wellingborough's win over Melton Mowbray last weekend.

At the same time leaders Newbold on Avon were beaten for the first time – going down 28-25 to Lutterworth – offering hope of a promotion push in the season’s run-in.

And with 10 games still to be played, that is something Blues head coach Doug Bridgeman is not ruling out.

“Quite clearly both the sides above us still have it in their own hands,” he said.

“As far as we’re concerned we will try to keep winning and see what happens.

Action from Wellingborough's win over Melton Mowbray last weekend.

Action from Wellingborough's win over Melton Mowbray last weekend.

“With 10 games to go there are plenty of opportunities for everybody to pick up points so we want to keep our season going for as long as possible.

“You see some of the results in this division and there is no real rhyme or reason to them.

“I think there have been some surprise results but I look at the rest of the season and can probably only see a couple of sides beating Newbold – one of those being ONs.

“But there have been some odd ones and that keeps it quite interesing.”

Action from Wellingborough's win over Melton Mowbray last weekend.

Action from Wellingborough's win over Melton Mowbray last weekend.

Kettering have lost four games this season but, aside from the opening-day 29-5 defeat at Newbold, two have been by a single point and the other by just five.

Statistically the Blues possess the divisions most potent attack and the most miserly defence.

And Bridgeman feels they have maintained their form thanks to an additional depth to the playing squad at Waverley Road.

“We’ve played some good rugby,” he added. “The two games we lost by a point were very disappointing but we we had a few changes to the sides and maybe three or four players on the day who were not necessarily at their best – which happens, of course.

“But one of the differences this season is that has not happened too often.

“We haven’t been without our issues in terms of injuries and unavailabilities but we have shown a depth to the squad.

“We went to Scouts with seven changes and still managed to score 10 tries.

“Dan Ireland has been absolutely oustanding recently and when he got injured against ONs we thought there was a massive hole to fill.

“But then guys went out last week and kept Paviors to only one score.

“The difference previously is that wouldn’t have happened.”

The Blues are this weekend at home to seventh-placed Bugbrooke.

Stewarts & Lloyds’ dreams of playing at Twickenham were scuppered as they were edged out 23-22 by Evesham in the Midlands Senior Vase.

The final of the competition is held at ‘Headquarters’ and S&L were hoping to go one step further than in 2014 when they were beaten in the final four.

However, it not to be for the Occupation Road men as their trip to Worcester ended in the narrowest of defeats.

Tom Crockett, Louis Trimble and Lee Richmond scored their tries but a penalty kick just a minute from time ensured victory went to the home side.