Bees mix solid defence with a dash of ambition to scotch Longton’s double hopes
Bonus point win lifts Bees into third spot in the league
A generally accomplished defensive performance and, at times, some good attacking rugby saw the Bees ease to a 30-10 victory against Longton on Saturday.
Two tries either side of half time and a clean sheet in the second half were enough to see off the challenge of a more than useful Longton side who had travelled to Portway looking to do the double on the Bees, having won the corresponding fixture up at Trentham Fields back in October.
Stung by their comprehensive defeat by another Staffordshire side – Lichfield – the previous week, the Bees were ostensibly in no mood to be put to the sword again and were 5-0 to the good within two minutes thanks to a Danny Wright try – the No.8 finishing off some enterprising work by forwards and backs alike.
Yet having got off to a textbook start, the Bees then found themselves in full on defensive mode for the next 15 minutes, as Longton looked to impose their physicality on the game. A try by prop forward Timmy Wareham levelled the scores, although the Bees would have been disappointed to have conceded a relatively soft score from a front of lineout move.
It was the Bees turn to take the game to Longton and the men in black were duly rewarded by a second try, Ashley Scriven ever the poacher at the lineout. The conversion by Jolly – back on the field after a breather in the sin bin - made it 12-5 and with outside centre Jimmy Oliver making light of the heavy underfoot conditions with some dazzling footwork, Jolly soon added a penalty to further extend the lead.
Longton winger Jone Nabetelebu wasn’t to be outdone though and, assisted in no small part by some half-hearted Bee’s tackling, scored from 40 metres out to reduce the deficit. Sadly for him, he pushed a second successive conversion wide. To add insult to injury, when the speedster got stuck in the mud and failed to release the ball in the tackle minutes later, Jolly was on hand to provide a place kicking tutorial by slotting a further penalty to take the Bees into a 18-10 lead at half time.
Despite going down to 14 men again within three minutes of the restart – Kurtis Payne the culprit this time for a high tackle – the Bees began the process of slowly but surely squeezing Longton out of the game. With a combination of well-drilled defence and a pleasing eagerness to move the ball wide, the Bees looked increasingly assured as half backs Jolly and Phillips took control with some quick and assured distribution.
Hooker Zane Raimondi and Scriven both came close before relentless Bees’ pressure finally told when referee Andy Wigley awarded a penalty try from an attacking scrum. With the regulation conversion duly slotted by Jolly, the win had been effectively sealed with 20-minutes still left on the clock.
Much to the home support’s approval, the Bees were able to complete a highly satisfactory afternoon’s work through a fourth and bonus point try – Jolly again in on the action, as his forwards demonstrated their considerable prowess in the rolling maul department. Although the conversion went astray, the lively scrum half could be well satisfied by his personal 15-point haul in the 30-10 final score line.
Although far from an error free performance, the victory against a dangerous Longton side was an excellent response to – what was by all accounts – a very bad day at the office at Lichfield a fortnight ago.
With Sheffield defeated away at Peterborough, their win on Saturday moves the Bees up to third spot in the table, six and ten points behind Broadstreet and Nuneaton respectively. Following a fixture-free weekend, a trip to league leaders Nuneaton is the next challenge for Pete Glackin’ squad (Saturday 4th March, KO 2.15pm).
Birmingham & Solihull Bees:- (1) Pete Koziot (2) Zane Raimondi (3) Kurtis Payne (YC) (4) Andrew Weaver (5) Chris Goddard © (6) Ashley Scriven (T) (7) Michael Stephens (8) Danny Wright (T) (9) Jack Jolly (T, 2P,2C) (10) Ben Phillips (11) Tawanda Chipadza (T) (12) Callum MacBurnie (13) Jimmy Oliver (14) Jevon Hinds (15) Max Rodman. Replacements (16) Joe Foreman (17) Freddie Clarke (18) Charlie Mumford. Pen try (1).
Referee: Andy Wigley