SPEEDY centre Stefan Shillingford snapped up a hat-trick of tries as Dudley Kingswinford swamped strugglers Longton 43-17 to keep their Midland One West promotion prospects alive.

But DK didn’t have matters all their own way and were given a wake-up call when lowly Longton raced over for a couple of early tries from left wing Sam Evans to build a 10-0 lead.

DK finally got into their stride and levelled matters as winger Tommy Walker and replacement James Ryan both crossed the whitewash.

The second half saw DK take command, Shillingford snapping up his trio of tries with another replacement Mitch Grealey and second row Matt Perks adding their names to the try sheet.

Centre Sam Vaughan kicked the remaining points as DK attempt to keep the pressure on second placed Newbold on Avon with seven games remaining.

DK have to try and bridge an imposing 11 point gap – but can cling to the fact that Newbold still have to visit both leaders Bromsgrove and DK themselves.

Director of Rugby Neil Shillingford remains realistic and said: “We can only focus on what we have to do. But we would need Newbold to drop points somewhere else along the line and you never know what can happen.

“Although Longton are struggling, it’s not the easiest place to go. They have a hostile crowd and the wind always plays a factor up there.

“It was disappointing that we let them in for two early scores and it was a test of character for the squad to see how well we could come back”.

DK host bottom of the table Malvern this Saturday at Heathbrook and Shillingford is taking nothing for granted.

He added: “We had to work really hard to break Malvern down at their place earlier in the season and we certainly won’t be taking them lightly. We can only concentrate on ourselves and see where that takes us.

“At least we should be close to full strength especially as several players impressed while playing for the seconds against Lichfield."