No comeback for Phoenix as the Bees soar into second spot
By Richard Smith
Bees score 57 points for second week running to extend their unbeaten league run to five games
Birmingham & Solihull rounded off their first month of the season with another bonus point victory against Doncaster Phoenix, keeping their 100% record intact and moving them up to second spot in the Midlands Premier league.
For the second week in succession, the Bees ran in nine tries and racked up 57 points against a Doncaster side who had no answer to power and pace of the Midlander’s. Andy Weaver, Zane Raimondi, Harry O’Brien, Max Rodman and Ashley Scriven all got themselves on the scoresheet, as did Umraan Jadwatt and JT Nabetelevu who both bagged a brace of tries each.
Skipper Jack Jolly chipped in with six successful conversions, which rounded off another highly satisfactory day at the office for the visitors.
Ground sharing with Championship outfit the Knights, Doncaster Phoenix’s Castle Park stadium is probably one of the best playing surfaces in the league and the Bees showed their intent to do justice to the conditions, playing fast and open running rugby right from the outset.
Pacey wing JT Nabetelevu opened the Bees account within 5 minutes, cleverly spotting a gap at a breakdown and gliding in from 10 metres out. The visitors certainly didn’t have things all their own way in the first 20 minutes though. With Jadwatt sin-binned for a high tackle, ensuing Phoenix pressure was ultimately rewarded by a try for flanker Jay Robinson, who impressed all afternoon.
Even with the Bees No.8 restored to the fray, that couldn’t prevent the south Yorkshire outfit crashing over for their second score, after an effective catch and drive. Duly converted, that put the home side briefly ahead, but the Bees were soon on level terms courtesy of a try for lock forward Weaver, after some patient build up play.
Three tries in twelve minutes not only secured the try bonus point but also got the travelling Bees’ fans purring, although a try by Phoenix second rower Clayton Hill did cut the deficit to 17-33 at half time.
Any prospect of comeback for the Phoenix was quickly quashed by a glorious solo try by Bees fly half Max Rodman and a second touchdown for “JT”. A well taken try by Doncaster centre and skipper Sam Bottomley showed that the home side were still determined to get something out of the afternoon, which was getting wetter by the moment as the drizzle became steady rain.
A yellow card for Mike Stephens for collapsing a driving maul was quickly followed by another try for Hill and the consolation of a bonus point for the home side. But there was no doubt of the overall direction of the tide and the Bees powerplay was to yield a further two unopposed tries to complete a comprehensive victory for Pete Glackin’s side.
The win means that the Bees, along with table topping Peterborough Lions - who have an extra bonus point - are now the only unbeaten teams in the league. Perhaps understandably, the Bees coaching staff are keen to downplay current league position at, what is still, a relatively early stage of the season.
However, the power, fitness and cohesion of this year’s Bees squad has been amply demonstrated in all five games of the new season. If form shown in the month of September is extrapolated across the rest of the campaign, this Bees side will almost certainly still be in the mix at the top of the table come April.
The Bees have a break from league action, when they welcome Camp Hill to Portway this Friday (6th October, KO 7.45pm) in the North Midlands Cup Quarter Final. Their Midlands Premier campaign then restarts on Saturday 14th October with a home tie at Portway against Lichfield (3pm KO).
Birmingham & Solihull Bees: - 1. Matt Probert, 2. Zane Raimondi (T), 3. Kurtis Payne, 4. Andy Weaver (T), 5. Danny Wright, 6. Ashley Scriven (T), 7. Michael Stephens (YC), 8 Umraan Jadwatt (YC, 2T), 9. Jack Jolly (6C) ©, 10. Max Rodman (T), 11. Tawanda Chipadza, 12. Nathan Tilsley, 13. Jimmy Oliver, 14. JT Nabetelevu (2T), 15. Harry O’Brien (T) , 16. Joe Foreman, 17. Reece Donaldson & 18. Matt Dight.
Referee:- Andy Smith