BROMSGROVE suffered another setback in their bid to escape relegation in the National North Two.

Defeat against out-of-form Preston means they are now 18 points away from safety with seven matches left.

It was a fine day for rugby at Finstall Park on Saturday, despite being wet underfoot the sun shone and there was the promise of a good match.

The mood at the ground was a sombre one as the club had recently lost one of it’s greatest-ever stalwarts, John Paul. It was hoped the rugby would lighten the mood.

This looked distinctly possible as Bromsgrove started strongly and showed a lot of enterprise during the opening exchanges, although their only reward came when fly-half Jon Critchlow scored a penalty.

Bromsgrove have struggled to score when dominating games so far this season and Preston were the latest side to hit them on the counter-attack.

The home defence failed to deal with two relatively simple attacks, which allowed hooker Philip Mills and fly-half Lloyd Davies to score converted tries in the first half.

The latter converted both and added a penalty before Bromsgrove scored on more penalty through Critchlow to turn around 17-6 down.

Things looked promising after the interval when Bromsgrove pressure brought a try for second row Steve Smith, who picked up a loose ball to dive over. Critchlow duly converted.

Back in touch and in a position where they could fight back, Bromsgrove had hopes of a late comeback.

But it failed to materialise as Preston came straight back with a converted try for centre John Ward.

Town were unable to make any impression on the visiting defence and conceded one more try late on when winger Conor Trueman crossed.

This gave Preston a bonus point win and left Bromsgrove pointless.

Bromsgrove face another side embroiled in the bottom three when they take on Sheffield Tigers away on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

The Yorkshire side have played one game less and have two more points than Bromsgrove.

But the Boars are still struggling to convert solid displays into points oand have won just once since the turn of the year.