UPTON cut the gap at the top of the Counties 4 Midlands West (South) to just two points after thrashing league leaders Birmingham Exiles 44-7 in freezing conditions on Saturday.

Despite the odds heavily in favour of a postponement, as was the case for the majority of grassroots rugby across the country, Upton's ground staff were able to get the game on and it could yet prove to be a decisive moment in the context of the 2023/24 season.

Birmingham Exiles, Upton and Malvern 2s seem to be locked in a three-way battle for the title, with just three points separating them at the top of the division, so this was a statement victory from Upton.

Despite the chill, a good crowd was in attendance at Banwell Park and the performance was enough to warm the souls of those brave enough to appear on the touchline.

Upton made a bright start with two quick tries through Josh Finch and Andrew Putterill before Rhys Cousins slotted a penalty to make it 13-0.

Exiles did respond after some ill-discipline from the hosts allowed them territory in which to score a converted try but Upton would extend their lead shortly before the break when debutant Will Davis crossed from full-back.

Issac Grimwade and James Butler touched down after the break, both converted by Cousins, to take the game away from Birmingham at 32-7.

Upton opened up with the game safe and scored another two tries through Pawson and a second for Butler as the hosts wrapped up a convincing victory.

Upton will be looking to back up the impressive display this weekend when they welcome Five Ways Old Edwardians to Banwell.