Late try not enough for Newport as Bees edge a close encounter
Bees preserve unbeaten record against a gusty Newport side
Match Report by Ethan Walker
The Bees maintained their top of the table position with a hard-fought win against Newport Salop, in a game where good defence and a last-minute try saw the home side both secure a losing point try and deny the Bees a try bonus point.
Birmingham & Solihull travelled to Shropshire having enjoyed a spell of eight games without loss, placing head coach Pete Glackin’s side top of the Midlands Premier. A top three side themselves, Newport had lost just one game and that had come the week previously against Sandbach.
The game started with great pace and enthusiasm, the burly Newport pack giving the Bees no inch of space across the field. Some good possession by the Bees earned them time in the Newport half, but Jolly and his men were unable to make anything of their visit. The visitors soon found themselves 3-0 down after a well taken penalty from the 10m mark.
Birmingham & Solihull were quick to respond however - after a catch and drive from a lineout, Umraan Jadwaat crashed over the line to give the league leaders the lead. Since joining from Nuneaton, the athletic No.8 has proven to be an excellent signing and an exciting player to watch. Jack Jolly was unable to convert the try from wide out.
It seemed as though the Bees were taking control of the game following the try, but some unforced errors by both teams meant that the pace of the game was slowed down and neither team was really able to find their shape and rhythm. Despite this, the Bees stretched their lead further - after a probing run by Jadwaat, centre Tilsley was on hand to receive the offload to gave his side their second try of the match. Jolly converted the try from a near impossible position on the touchline, making the score 3-12.
With the home side’s supporters on edge, Newport had to find a way to reduce their deficit before the half ended, particularly as they were playing with the advantage of the slope and the prevailing wind. To their credit, Newport were not giving their opponents an easy time with crunching tackles and countless disruptions of Bees’ possession.
A period where the Bees were put under a real test saw Tawanda Chipadza preventing a certain try by latching onto the ball while the ball carrier was close to the line. Thanks to the young winger’s defensive efforts, Newport were only able to come away with just 3 points for all their industry. An offside in the back line meant a simple kick in front of the posts, 6-12.
Newport further added to their tally on the last play of the half, with another penalty meaning that the Shropshire team went into the changing rooms just 3 points adrift of their opponents.
A close first half meant that it was all to play for in the second period. An injury scare for lock Matt Spink meant that he came off to be assessed, but later returned to finish the match with his teammates.
It was the Bees’ turn to convert a penalty of their own, Jolly stepping up give his side a 6 point lead. The away supporters were put further at ease with a spectacular try from Chip, following an assist from centre Steve Johns. Although the conversion was short, the Bees now led 20-9.
Newport still weren’t willing to give up though as two penalties narrowed the lead to 5 points with the closing stages of the game looming. The Bees won themselves a penalty and captain Jolly opted to go for goal. He showed great composure to slot home the 40m kick to give a two score advantage at 15-23.
With just a few minutes left on the clock, the only way Newport could salvage something from the game was a try. Despite great resolve and valiant efforts to keep Newport out, the Bees conceded with the last play of the game leaving the score at 22-23 at the final whistle.
A close encounter for sure, but a hard-fought victory keeps the Bees undefeated at the top of the Midlands Premier division. Next Saturday sees the Bees on the road again – away at Nuneaton (Saturday 11th November, KO 2.15pm)
Birmingham & Solihull Bees:- 1. Joe Foreman, 2 Zane Raimondi, 3. Matt Probert, 4. Andy Weaver, 5. Matt Spink, 6. Danny Wright, 7. Michael Stephens, 8 Umraan Jadwatt (T), 9. Jack Jolly (C,2P) ©, 10. Max Rodman, 11. Tawanda Chipadza (T), 12. Nathan Tilsley (T), 13. Steve Johns, 14. JT Nabetelevu, 15. Harry O’Brien, 16. Kurtis Payne, 17. Ashley Scriven & 18. Jack Secher.
Referee: Owen Taylor