DUDLEY Kingswinford's hopes of promotion were dealt another blow as they lost out at Whitchurch.

DK slipped to a 19-5 defeat as their conquerors leapfrogged them into third place in Midlands One West.

It was the Heathbrook outfit's fourth successive defeat as they dropped 15 points off pacesetter Bromsgrove heading into the festive fixture break.

Their task was made even harder as they lost Danny Hawkins to a red card just 10 minutes into the second half.

However, director of rugby Neil Shillingford says the reason for defeat was due to his side's inability to stick to their game plan in the icy conditions in Shropshire.

He said: "We knew what we had to expect from them and spoke before about how important it was to get our kicking game together and get them turned back around, especially with the wind out our backs in the first half.

"But we just didn't do that and didn't put our game plan into play. Instead we were sucked into their game play, which was very much carry and ruck rugby.

"We then lost Danny Hawkins when they ref saw him throw a punch after he'd retaliated to someone putting their head in. That made it difficult in the second half against the conditions and a rampaging Whitchurch side.

"We did okay and played some nice rugby but it wasn't enough.

"The conditions were unbelievable. It was a real Arctic blast and I don't think I've ever experienced anything like it.

"Normally you can get the lads out there on the pitch and the steam starts rising off their backs but that never happened.

"At half time they were all huddled together and could hardly move. It was just so cold."

One positive was that the club handed a debut to young winger Alex Craig.

Shillingford added: "We did have a few enforced changes once again because of injuries but it meant we were able to blood Alex.

"It was a difficult game for him to make his debut but I thought he did really well and he's someone we have identified as good enough for the firsts and we'll be looking to give him other opportunities."