Best conditions of 2017 for Bees first meet up with Bracknell.
Bees start with Bracknell recycling well but Bees defence halting any progress. I think it was at the seventh phase that Bees earned tunover ball on the Bracknell which was sent out wide with quick hands for Josh to go in at the corner 2 minutes in. 5-0
Bracknell restart recycling a couple of times before knocking on. Bees take the ball against the head at the scrum initially going wide. Quick recycling and the ball comes back to Noah to go through from the 22. Noah then converts for 12-0 4 minutes in.
The high intensity start from Bees continued. Bracknell restart long and Bees clear to the 10m. Bracknell secure clean ball from their lineout initially attacking through midfield recycling again and up to the 22. Bees earn turnover and clear with a box kick. Bracknell spot some space and kick crossfield but into touch. Bees secure ball and clear with Bracknell knocking on in contact. Bees scrum secures ball which Bees chip through. Bracknell return but the ball eventually finds its way to touch. All pretty breathless stuff from both teams. Plenty of close quarter action and forced knock ons eventually see Bees moving up into the Bracknell 22. Bees attacks culminating with them going wide and close. Bracknell earn turnover ball and play across their line and out wide. A few off loads near the 5m channel soon uses up the Bees defenders and from just outside their 22 the final Bracknell attacker goes the length. Converted on 12 minutes for 12-7. If Bees had needed a reminder that this opposition could play then there it was.
Bees restart and Bracknell return, more close quarter action sees Bees earn turnover and chip the defence but ball secured by Bracknell calling for the mark. Bracknell kick clear to touch. Bees secure ball from the lineout and attack midfield recycling successfully before sending the ball out wide. Initial yards made before Josh is taken to touch. Bees take possession from the lineout and make some initial attaks through the forwards before the ball comes out to Noah to put in a crossfield kick. A difficult bouncing ball is taken by Dec but a great finish under pressure in the corner gives Bees the next score. 18 minutes in for 17-7.
Bracknell restart and fierce but fair competition sees neither side troubling the 22's. Bees now starting to win the set piece battle at the scrum and Bracknell starting to control the lineouts. A penalty for holding allowing Bracknell to kick to halfway. From the lineout Bracknell initially attack midfield and recycle before going wide. Good ball retention eventually sets up a platform for two great running lines from the centres to carve out a big hole in the Bees defence and go through on 25 minutes. Converted for 17-14. Some really good rugby on display with these moves.
A high tempo and action game continued for the remainder of the half with Bees probably winning the territory battle but neither side troubling the scoreboard. Both strong defences.
Bracknell restart the second half with Bees kicking the return long. The Bracknell winger (possibly a love child of Shane Williams with the jinking ability and speed he had) makes good ground up to and passed halfway. Bracknell recycle but a dropped ball in midfield is pounced on by Bees and quick hands out wide sees the ball to Josh to repeat his score in the corner at the start of the first half. 36 minutes in for 22-14.
Too much action to detail but the score board wasn't troubled for the next 20 minutes. Bees going closest getting held up with all pressure released with feeding at the scrum followed by a further march 10m backwards for back chat. Dutifully punished with a touch find from Bracknell to the 10m. Corry clarifying to the backs why we were so futher back downfield. A couple of further penalties at breakdowns then keeping Bees at bay. Bees forwards were starting exert control that stifled the Bracknell attack. The first maul successfully held up to earn turnover. From the scrum Initial midfield attacks and phase play nearing double figures before the ball goes out to Tom O (minus breakfast) to race down the line, kick past the cover defence and race through to ground and score.57 minutes in for 27 - 14.
Bracknell far from done in this game and after initial exchanges and a Bracknell line out sees them string another period of successful phase play. Turnover eventually earned and a half break from Ivor halted, but quickly run ball following Bracknell going in at the side sees Nathan spot and go through a gap on 61 minutes for 32-14.
From the restart Bees make initial ground before getting turned over for holding. Bracknell kick for touch but it falls short and Bees control and recycling sees them back past halfway before the ball goes out to Tom O to make a carbon copy run down the wing, kick past the final defender and then race through and ground to score. I think the cartwheel during the scoring might have been the same as well. 65 minutes in for 37-14.
No further scoring in the game but there was some really good stuff on display from both sides. Bracknell showed some real class play for their scores leaving Bees knowing Bracknell could probably score from anywhere on the park. But Bees matched this and played the sort of game where the forwards do the work to let the girlies in the backs take the glory. I'm ready for the abuse at the next training session for that one.
Great game, great competition and a return fixture to look forward to later in the season.