The gulf between top and bottom of the National League 2 South was laid bare at Portway on Saturday, as league leaders Rams gave the Bees a 0-53 drubbing and, with it, an object lesson in how to play rugby in challenging weather.
Storm Deidre provided extreme conditions to say the least for supporters and players alike, but it was the visitors who coped far better with the elements in what was to prove a very one-sided contest.
Even with a morale boosting away win against Barnes the previous weekend, the game against the league’s form team – beaten just once in fourteen outings – was always going to be a tough assignment for Pete Glackin’s men. And it certainly turned out to be the case.
The Bees managed to maintain parity until the 10th minute of the first half, before an unfortunate slip in the back division gifted Rams full back Joe Duffelen an opening score.
Duffelen doubled his tally three minutes later after loose head prop Niall Kidd made an impressive burst up the middle before off-loading to his No.15 to score under the posts. Alex Seers made no mistake with the second conversion.
Although the Bees played with plenty of industry and defensive endeavour, the power of the Rams pack and the impressive handling by their backline inspite of the conditions, superbly orchestrated by fly half Seers, progressively snuffed out any meaningful threat from the hosts. Two forward-led tries – the fourth and bonus point score from hooker Ben Henderson, effectively sealed the game as a contest on the stroke of half time.
With conditions deteriorating further in the second half, Rams were relentless in their application of attacking pressure. On the rare occasions that the Bees got the ball, evaporating confidence quickly led to handling errors or loss of the ball at the breakdown.
With the visitors increasingly dominant at set pieces, a further five tries came at regular intervals in the second half to underline the dominance of the side from Reading. Winger Corrigan (twice), No.8 Ross Crame, scrum half Greg Illingworth and replacement Robbie Stapley all got in on the act, with a penalty try from the scrum rounding off a thoroughly miserable afternoon for Bees’ players and supporters alike.
Whilst expectations were low for any sort of return from the game, the home side will have been disappointed not only to concede 9 tries, but also to be “nilled” in the process. The Bees final game in 2018 comes this week away at Old Redcliffians (Saturday 22nd December KO 2pm).
The Bristol side were narrowly beaten at Portway on the second Saturday in September at a far more temperate Portway. It is a game that the Bees dearly need to get some points from to provide some cheer over the festive period.
Bees v Rams: 1. Joe Foreman, 2. Zane Raimondi, 3. Nick Bingham, 4. Keenan Cooper, 5. Matt Spink, 6. Ashley Scriven, 7. Marcus Brown, 8. Umraan Jadwat, 9. Jack Jolly (C), 10. Ben Phillips. 11 Mike Ho, 12. Nathan Tilsley, 13. Adam Nunney, 14. Matt Dight, Corey Venus.
Replacements: 16. Stewart Pearl, 17. Matt Probert, 18. Ed Krawiecki, 19. Jimmy Oliver, 20. Dan Kelly.
Referee:- James Clarke. ARs:- Stephen Hambley and Stephen Gammage