NEIL Shillingford hailed Dudley Kingswinford RFC’s superior fitness as they went top of Midlands One West.

The joint head coach watched his side churn out a 26-17 early season win at title rivas Sutton Coldfield on Saturday.

It was as tight and as closely fought a game as Shillingford had predicted and he believes his side’s greater conditioning was key to the victory.

He said: “In the end our fitness told, when we hit another gear in the last quarter they couldn’t match it and faded.

“There were a number of really good performances, the front row was in a battle all afternoon.

“We knew it would be tough and we went over there expecting it.

“They have a very strong backline which can demolish a lot of teams but we stuck at it and came out with the result in the end.

“I was pleased at the way we were able to put them under pressure early on too.”

DK came out of the blocks fastest on Saturday and lead 12-0 just past the midway point of the first half thanks to four Gareth Bown penalties.

But the hosts showed their own capabilities with two fine tries which helped them lead 14-12 at the break.

DK had to be patient after the break and it wasn’t until the 62nd minute they went ahead as Stefan Shillingford went over for a superb try. The centre then set up Tom Weaver to seal the victory two minutes from time.

Rivals Walsall are the visitors to Heathbrook this Saturday as DK look to maintain their 100 per cent start to the season.

Their opponents have lost two of their first three games but Shillingford is expecting a tough match.

He said: “Last year we played them around this time and they really targeted us.

“They will make sure their big players are available and will make it as difficult as they can.

“We cannot afford to take them lightly. They have had a difficult start but have scored quite a few points.

“We must be wary of that.”

Tight head Al Francis could return for Saturday’s game, with Stefan Thorp also hoping to be available for selection.