Bees get back to winning ways at Newbold
By Richard Smith
Bonus point win extends lead at the top of the table to six points
Birmingham & Solihull put behind them the disappointment of their first loss of the season last weekend with a comfortable 3-29 win away at Newbold on Avon.
The Bees overcame some spirited resistance from a side fighting relegation at the other end of the table to secure a bonus point win. The victory extends their lead at the top of the Midlands Premier division to six points, with two games still in hand on nearest rivals, Peterborough Lions.
The home side were clearly fired up for the encounter and lived up to their nickname “The Bold” in the first half. They were first on the scoresheet with a Dan O’Brien penalty and at times tested a Bees’ defence that was further stretched by an early sin binning for captain Jack Jolly.
For all their bluster and brawn, Newbold were unable to convert possession and pressure into further points against a side who were fielding a new centre partnership and a reshuffled backrow.
Having weathered the initial storm and with Newbold themselves now down to 14 men – winger Lee Lightowler shown yellow for a deliberate knock on during a promising Bees’ attack – Steve Johns put the visitors ahead after 20 minutes with his first of two tries. Newbold continued to pose problems for the Bees and could have restored a slender lead had O’Brien managed to slot a second penalty attempt.
A trademark forward drive from the men in white and yellow culminated in try for Bees’ thirty something hooker Zane Raimondi – a Rodman conversion made it 3-12 at halftime – a score line that probably flattered the visitors.
Another try for winger Johns within two minutes of the restart – created by a break by Michael Stephens, who made a welcome return to the backrow - gave the Bees an ideal start to the second period. Despite this, the men from Portway were still finding it difficult to fully hit their straps. A fourth and bonus point try, neatly finished by left wing Jevon Hinds after a lovely pass from debutant Tyler Price, finally put the game to bed and eased some of the tension for the vocal travelling support.
Although down again to 14 men - Raimondi this time getting on the wrong side of referee Ryan Owens - it was the Bees who rounded off the afternoon with a fifth try, another well taken score from inside centre Ben Phillips. A long range conversion by Jolly sealed what was, in the end, a comfortable 3-29 win.
Pete Glackin and Stewart Pearl will be pleased that the squad – again much changed from the previous week – “got back on the horse” with a five try win away from home against a physical side with a point to prove.
The Bees are likely to face a similar challenge next weekend with their third away fixture on the run, this time against Bournville (Saturday 24th February, KO 3.00pm), in a game that was originally postponed due to inclement pre-Christmas weather.
Keeping the winning momentum going will be vital, with second-placed Peterborough still very much in the chase notching up another away win themselves at Nuneaton, although they missed out on a try bonus point.
Bees v Newbold on Avon: - 1. Joe Foreman, 2. Zane Raimondi (T, YC), 3. Matt Probert, 4. Keanan Cooper, 5. Andy Weaver, 6. Michael Stephens, 7. Marcus Brown, 8. Danny Wright, 9. Jack Jolly (YC,1C) ©, 10. Max Rodman (1C), 11. Steve Johns (2T), 12. Ben Phillips (T), 13. Tyler Price, 14. Jevon Hinds (T), 15. Harry O’Brien, 16. Kurtis Payne, 17. Reece Donaldson & 18. Tawanda Chipadza.
Referee: - Ryan Owens