Bees tough out another win against a belligerent Bridgnorth
Rusty performance in heavy conditions still yields the win
Birmingham & Solihull Bees started 2018 where they left off in 2017 – unbeaten and atop of the Midlands Premier division – but they were made to work hard for their 20-10 win against a belligerent Bridgnorth side.
Despite coming into the game in ninth position in the table, Bridgnorth proved that they were a better side than their league position suggested by outplaying their hosts in virtually every department in the first period.
The Salopians took the lead through a Llew Williams penalty after having the majority of possession and territorial advantage in the first 20 minutes. A Bees try 10 minutes later came against the run of play too, Zane Raimondi finishing well in the corner from a quick tap penalty, after Harry O’Brien had made the original interception from defence.
Matt Spink was shown a yellow card by referee Matt Astle – a harsh decision from a home supporters’ point of view, but Bridgnorth were unable to regain the lead from the subsequent penalty. A nasty concussion-related injury to the Bridgnorth No.8 Connor Nicholls brought an early, yet entirely understandable and sensible end to the first half.
An excellent solo score from Tawanda Chipadza within 30 seconds of the restart, plus a try for his fellow winger Steve Johns after a perfectly weighted crossfield kick from full back O’Brien, seemingly put the Bees in control at 17-3 ten minutes into the second half.
Tough mudders that Bridgnorth are though and, assisted by another yellow card for the home side – this time for Andy Weaver, they narrowed the deficit to 17-10 on the 13th minute mark thanks to a well taken try by Williams, who also added the conversion.
It was time for the Bees to show their qualities of resilience as the contest deteriorated, along with the underfoot conditions, into an arm wrestle in the mud. A Rodman penalty with 8 minutes to go gave a two-score cushion and despite pressure in the dying embers of the game, the men from Portway couldn’t fashion a fourth try to give them the bonus point.
After a five-week layoff the Bees could be forgiven for being rather ring-rusty and the Glackin/Pearl coaching axis will be glad to get the first game of 2018 under their belts with another “W” in the results column.
The win extends the Bees unbeaten run in the league to 13 games, keeping them 7 points ahead of second-placed Peterborough Lions – who themselves won again - with two games in hand.
Next week the Bees travel to mid table Derby, in a game that kicks off at 2.15pm on Saturday 13th January.
Birmingham & Solihull Bees- 1. Kurtis Payne, 2. Zane Raimondi (T), 3. Matt Probert, 4. Andy Weaver (YC), 5. Matt Spink (YC) 6. Danny Wright, 7. Michael Stephens, 8, Umraan Jadwat, 9. Jack Secher, 10. Max Rodman (1P, 1C), 11. Steve Johns (T), 12. Nathan Tilsley, 13. Jimmy Oliver, 14. Tawanda Chipadza (T), 15. Harry O’Brien, 16. Joe Foreman, 17. Chris Thompson & 18. Ben Phillips.
Referee: - Matt Astle