Bees cash in on the banks of the River Severn
Three wins from three with a bonus point victory over Bridgnorth
Match Report by Ethan Walker
After an eventful victory at home last week against local rivals Bournville, the Bees made the trip to Bridgnorth intent on keeping their 100% record intact. For their part, Bridgnorth were looking for a first win of the season following narrow defeats to Peterborough Lions and Sandbach.
Visiting supporters were put on edge from the start, with lock forward Danny Wright sin binned after just two minutes. However, sporting their new away kit, the visitors showed superb spirit and resolve as they held out from the resulting lineout to clear their lines. Birmingham & Solihull then had two penalty chances, but Jack Jolly was unable to put early points on the board.
The Bees found themselves camped in the opposition’s half, applying pressure in all areas of the pitch - this was equally matched though by the efforts of Bridgnorth’s defence.
A recurring theme in Pete Glackin’s side so far this season is their continued dominance at the lineout and it was a good lineout drive by the forwards which led to a yellow card for Bridgnorth flanker James Rodley for handling in the ruck.
With the Bees back to full strength with the return of Wright to the fray, a strong run by winger Steve Johns put his team on the Bridgnorth 5m line. Quick recycling of the ball set up centre Nathan Tilsley the first try of the afternoon. The subsequent conversion by Jolly made it 0-7 Bees.
Bridgnorth responded almost immediately with a good kick off by fly half Will Bishop, with his forwards managing to turn the ball over and stranding the Bees offside at the breakdown. This gave the home side their first meaningful visit to the oppositions half in the game. Eventually the pressure was too much and the Bees conceded a penalty inside their 22, which Bishop took with ease to make the score 3-7.
The game seemed to take a swing in momentum in favour of the home team, as Bees’ captain Jolly was sent to the bin. Bridgnorth were initially unable to capitalise as Bishop missed the resultant penalty kick, but the Bees were not to be let off the hook. A clearance kick which didn’t find touch led to missed tackles by the Bees defence, allowing Bridgnorth winger Jordon Burgess to score with after a deft chip through by Bishop. Although the conversion was missed, the home side were now 8-7 to the good.
The Bees responded immediately though, with a superb break by Umraan Jadwatt putting him clear and under the posts. Much to the delight of the home supporters however (and no doubt a hefty fine on the bus trip home), the South African No.8 inexplicably spilled the ball whilst touching down.
Yet the first half’s drama was not completed there. Lock forward Matt broke from the half way line making it all the way to the 5m line before he was brought down by a high tackle, which prevented a certain try. The referee had no choice but to show Bridgnorth full back Jack Pons – a former Bee - a yellow card and award a penalty try to the visitors. The successful conversion meant an 8-14 score line going into half time.
A refreshed Bees side came bursting out of the blocks after the interval. Only a few minutes had been played before Spink was on the hoof once more, scoring his own try this time and increasing the visitor’s lead to 13 points, aided by the Jolly conversion. Six minutes later, Harry O’Brien – who impressed for the third week running at full back - made a sublime run to set up centre Jimmy Oliver for his side’s bonus point try, which was again converted by Jolly to take the score to 8-28.
Bridgnorth were determined to still make a contest of the game, but a long-distance Jolly penalty put any hopes of a comeback to bed. Bridgnorth did manage to get behind the Bees’ defence for a late consolation try for flanker James Hill though.
Appropriately, it was Birmingham and Solihull who were to have the final say in this highly entertaining game, with a further Jolly penalty to seal their third win on the bounce. Final score 15-34.
Attention has already turned to this week, when the Bees return back to the familiar territory of Portway to host Derby RFC on Saturday 23rd September, KO 3pm.
Birmingham & Solihull:- 1. Joe Foreman, 2 Zane Raimondi, 3. Kurtis Payne, 4. Andy Weaver, 5. Matt Spink (T), 6. Danny Wright (YC) , 7. Ashley Scriven, 8 Umraan Jadwatt, 9. Jack Jolly (YC, 2P, 3C) ©, 10. Max Rodman, 11. JT Nabetelevu, 12. Nathan Tilsley (T), 13. Jimmy Oliver (T), 14. Steve Johns, 15. Harry O’Brien, 16. Matt Probert, 17. Reece Donaldson & 18. Ben Phillips. Pen Try (1).
Referee: Jake Hill