Bees ease to victory to secure another vital 5 points
Nuneaton outplayed in every department as Bees make light of heavy underfoot conditions
Birmingham & Solihull took another important step towards securing an automatic promotion spot with a comprehensive 47-14 victory against Nuneaton. With just six games now remaining, the bonus point win stretches their lead to 11 points at the top of the Midlands Premier division, with a game still in hand over nearest rivals, Peterborough Lions.
The victory on Saturday against Nuneaton was all the more pleasing for the supporters who braved the soggy conditions at Portway, as it was achieved through a much more assured and authoritative performance than had been witnessed in recent outings.
Throughout the game, the home side dominated in every department, not least in the backrow. Umraan Jadwat enjoyed himself against his old club, with his trademark attacking runs. Michael Stephens tackled everything in sight and bagged himself a touchdown. Whilst Ashley Scriven marked his return from injury with a brace of tries, as well as proving to be a thorn in Nuneaton’s side all afternoon, especially at the front of the line out.
Nuneaton were hardly in the game for the first 25 minutes, by which time the Bees had racked up a 21-0 lead courtesy of tries from Ben Phillips, Stephens and Scriven, with Jack Jolly immaculate from the tee in tricky kicking conditions.
When the visitors finally got on the scoresheet on the half hour mark it was against the run of play – winger Jackson Hughes stripping the ball in the tackle to go over from the 22m line. Scrum half Huw Thomas added the extras.
The Bees rounded off a good half with a second try for Scriven and another conversion for Jolly, the bonus point already in the bag and 28-7 to the good.
A yellow card for Bees’ skipper Jolly within one minute of the restart gave Nuneaton a window of opportunity – one they took, despite some resolute Bees’ defensive work. Referee Carl Adams rightly awarded Nuneaton a penalty try after a Bees’ clearance kick from a 5m scrum was charged down and Thomas was impeded in the scramble for the ball over the line.
That proved to be the full extent of the visitor’s come back through, as the Bees proceeded to add a further 19 unanswered points over the remaining half an hour of the game.
Jimmy Oliver, on whilst full back Harry O’Brien was receiving some running repairs, showed that he was as sharp as ever on his return from injury, snaffling an interception try. Rodman successfully deputising with the kicking duties.
Marcus Brown, another player to come on from the subs bench, scored his debut try after a 12 man shove from an attacking line out proved too powerful for Nuneaton pack to defend. And with ‘Nuns fly half Rory Vowles in the sin bin for a high tackle, Jimmy Oliver – now on as a permanent replacement – rounded off a most satisfactory afternoon for the Bees with his second try and Jack Jolly’s fifth conversion.
Although there is certainly no mention of the “P” word yet from the Glackin/Pearl coaching axis, the reality is that the Bees are now just three bonus point wins away from securing automatic promotion to National League 2 next season. They will get their chance to notch up further points in this quest with the visit of Doncaster Phoenix to Portway next Saturday (17th March, KO 3pm).
Bees v Nuneaton: - 1. Joe Foreman, 2. Zane Raimondi, 3.Kurtis Payne, 4. Matt Spink, 5. Andy Weaver, 6. Ashley Scriven (2T), 7. Michael Stephens (T), 8. Umraan Jadwat, 9. Jack Jolly © (5C, YC), 10. Max Rodman (1C), 11. Steve Johns, 12. Nathan Tilsley, 13. Ben Phillips (T), 14. Tawanda Chipadza, 15. Harry O’Brien, 16. Matt Probert, 17. Marcus Brown (T) & 18 Jimmy Oliver (T).
Referee: - Carl Adams