Table-topping Bees neutralise Nuns threat
Bees further extend their lead at the top of the table following a comfortable win at Nuneaton
Match Report by Ethan Walker
Birmingham & Solihull further extended their lead at the top of the Midlands Premier League with a comfortable 11-56 away win at Nuneaton.
Another bonus point win, combined with a loss on the road for second placed Peterborough, means that the Bees have now opened up an eight point gap at the top of the table.
Following an entertaining encounter the previous week at Newport (Salop), the Bees were on the road again, making the trip to Warwickshire to face Nuneaton. Despite their mid table position, “the Nuns” were likely to provide stiff opposition for the table topping Bees.
The game started brightly - two tries in quick succession from fly-half Max Rodman and former Nuns player Umraan Jadwat within the first 10 minutes - meant that the visitors had a 0-14 cushion early on, Jack Jolly sublimely slotting both conversions from wide out. Further pressure and a period of good quality defence and attack meant that the Bees were awarded a penalty inside the Nuneaton half. The Jolly boot duly obliged to extend the lead to 0-17.
Nuneaton were eager to get back in the game and a period of play saw the home side threaten the Bees’ try line, but they were only able to come away with a penalty for their efforts. Jolly replied immediately from the kick off, after Nuns conceded a penalty from an accidental offside.
With the score at 20-3, an incident saw Bees flanker Michael Stephens and Nuns lock Arron Turner both yellow carded. Nuneaton were not going to pass up the resulting penalty in kickable range and pegged back the lead to 6-20. With handling errors creeping in from both sides, it fell to the agile Bees centre Nathan Tilsley to wriggle his way through the Nun’s defence for his side’s third try, with Jolly able to further add to his impressive kicking tally.
The Bees have been highly successful season to date in securing try bonus points in the first half and that pleasing trend continued courtesy of Max Rodman, who went over the line for a second time after an arching run around the static Nuneaton defence. The young flier showed great pace to reach the in-goal area and give his teammates a comfortable platform before half-time. Mr “100%” Jolly took the score to 6-34 at the break, the win already effectively sealed bar a miracle come back.
The second half produced a further three tries coming from wingers JT Nabetelevu, Tawanda Chipadza and replacement scrum half Jack Secher, with lock Matt Gibbs grabbing a consolation score for the home side.
Whilst the Bees didn’t dominate position and possession to the extent that they had done in the first half, nonetheless they finished the game as strongly as ever – another heartening feature this season. A dominant scrum and disruptive lineout, mixed with a fit and capable backline, proved to be the major difference between the two sides when it mattered, reflected in the 11-56 final scoreline.
Bees captain Jolly had a stand out game, adding another penalty and a further two conversions to his personal tally with just missed two kicks from the tee all afternoon. The abrasive scrum half played a key role in his team’s victory which sees them extend their lead at the top of Midlands Premier to eight points after Peterborough Lions failed to pick up any points on their travels to Scunthorpe.
There is a break from rugby this week, but the following week (Saturday 25th November, KO 2.15pm) sees the road trip continue to local rivals Old Halesonians, who currently sit bottom of the table.
Birmingham & Solihull Bees:- 1. Kurtis Payne, 2. Zane Raimondi, 3. Matt Probert, 4. Andy Weaver, 5. Danny Wright, 6 Ashley Scriven, 7. Michael Stephens (YC), 8 Umraan Jadwat (T), 9. Jack Jolly (3P, 6C) ©, 10. Max Rodman (2T), 11. Tawanda Chipadza (T), 12. Nathan Tilsley (T), 13. Jimmy Oliver, 14. JT Nabetelevu (T), 15. Harry O’Brien, 16. Joe Foreman, 17. Matt Spink & 18. Jack Secher (T).
Referee: Ben MacNamara