Record breaking Bees see off Lions
New club record set as unbeaten run up to 12 league games
Birmingham & Solihull Bees successfully tamed a physical Peterborough Lions side to secure another bonus point win and extend their lead at the top of Midlands Premier League to 12 points.
One of the league’s strongest sides, the Lions were always going to pose a real threat to the Bees, but Pete Glackin and Stewart Pearl’s side came through a thorough examination at Portway to maintain both pride and their unbeaten run.
Indeed the 22-17 win set a modern era record for the club, with their undefeated league run now stretching to 12 games.
Two tries in both halves were just enough to see off a spirited challenge from Peterborough. The visitors were always in the hunt and a late try gave the home supporters a slight fright at the end, as well as securing a deserved losing bonus point for the Cambridgeshire side.
It might be December, but there was little festive cheer pitch side on a dark and dank afternoon as two big sides slugged it out in an attritional first half. As has been the case for most of the season, first blood was drawn by the Bees after centre Nathan Tilsey burrowed his way over for the opening score after 5 minutes.
The Bees defence was then put under serious pressure for the next 15 minutes, but the visitors were unable to make any real headway against a well organised home side. A try for the Lions on the 23-minute mark – scored by winger Kaz Henderson and converted by Nico Defeo - came from an interception, as the Bees were pressing for their second score.
With the score 5-7 in the visitor’s favour and the Lions having the put in at a scrum on the Bees’ 5m line, suddenly it seemed as if the shape of the game was about to change. Yet the Bees forwards impressively shoved the Lions off the ball and relieved the pressure – one of two seminal moments in the first period.
The second decisive blow came on the stroke of half time - JT Nabetelevu – finishing off out wide, after a forward barrage on the Peterborough line. Although Jolly was again unable to add the extras, it allowed the Bees to go in at the break 12-7 to the good.
It took just three minutes into the second half for the Bees to stretch their lead to 10 points, with Matt Spink flamboyantly diving over the try line after pocketing a delightful reverse pop pass from his captain.
The next 25 minutes saw a return to trench warfare, in which more excellent Bees’ defence earned the visitors only a Defeo penalty for all their endeavours. A fourth and bonus point try for the Bees was chalked up by Umraan Jadwat from a 5m scrum and, with just six minutes left on the clock, that seemingly was that.
There was still some roar left in the Lions though and, with a second try for winger Henderson converted by Defeo, there was just a chance that things were not quite done and dusted yet. However, the Bees were able to close out the game without any further alarums and the win was secured.
A losing bonus point for Simon Moyles’ Lions was well merited and the return fixture over at Peterborough in the New Year is likely to be an equally close-run affair.
In the meantime, the Birmingham & Solihull march on, with the lead at the top of the table now 12 points from second placed Newport Salop. Next week sees another tricky assignment as the Bees travel to fourth-placed Sandbach.
Birmingham & Solihull Bees- 1. Kurtis Payne, 2. Zane Raimondi, 3. Matt Probert, 4. Andy Weaver, 5. Danny Wright, 6. Ashley Scriven, 7. Michael Stephens, 8, Unraan Jadwat (T), 9. Jack Jolly © (1C), 10. Max Rodman, 11. Steve Johns, 12. Nathan Tilsley (T), 13. Jimmy Oliver, 14. JT Nabetelevu (T), 15. Harry O’Brien, 16. Joe Foreman, 17. Matt Spink (T) & 18. Jack Secher.
Referee: - Will Debenham