STOURBRIDGE Lions remain on course to defend their Midlands Senior Vase crown after blasting away Kesteven.

The Lincolnshire side arrived at Stourton Park for last Saturday’s quarter-final unbeaten in all competitions but were overwhelmed by the hosts, who ran out 41-0 winners.

Kesteven actually started the stronger and spent the opening minutes camped inside the Lions 22. But they were unable to make the pressure count and it was the hosts who managed to get on top.

After missing a penalty, skipper Stuart Doolittle went over for the first try following a lineout catch and drive.

The captain pounced again on the half hour, touching down after strong midfield breaks from Aaron Boffey and Harry Wainwright set up a ruck close to the line. George Tildsley knocked over the conversion to give the hosts a 12-0 half-time lead.

Things got worse for the visitors early in the second period when their flanker was yellow carded for deliberately slowing the ball.

The Lions took full advantage, Danny Cox setting up Doolittle for his hat-trick try, before Will Ballard went over under the posts.

Tildsley was wide with the conversion on what was a poor kicking day for the home side. But it mattered little, as Harry Wainwright soon added another try to make the score 29-0.

Cox and Ballard ran in late tries to complete the rout.

Director of rugby Ian Strangward said: “It was unbelieveable and if I’m honest, a bit of shock. We played fantastic. For 60 minutes it was a hard fought game but when they went down to 14 men we took advantage.”

The Lions can now look forward to a February semi-final but will first look to climb the Midlands Three West (North) table, starting with Saturday’s visit to Burntwood.

Strangward added: “Saturday’s win will give us huge confidence.

“We have three games left before Christmas and if we can win them, we will give ourselves a great chance in the league.”