For the second time this season, Birmingham & Solihull came out second best on the road, with just the consolation of a losing bonus point in a 15-10 defeat to Dings Crusaders at the impressive new Shaftsbury Avenue ground.
The first twenty minutes of the game was high on entertainment value but low on scoreboard action, as both sides showed their attacking and defensive qualities on an artificial surface which was conducive to high tempo rugby.
With Bees lock Matt Spink forced to limp off with an ankle injury, Ben Bolster missed an opportunity to break the deadlock after 26 minutes. However, the Dings fly half soon made amends 3 minutes later as he neatly chipped through and collected the ball to dot under the posts. An easy conversation gave the Bristolians a 7-0 advantage.
Matters took another turn for the worse for the men in yellow and black when skipper Jack Jolly yellow carded for obstruction on the half hour mark. That left his side in full defensive mode, as Dings threw everything at their visitors to push home their numerical advantage. The Bees’ defence was resolute however and, with Jolly restored, held out to half time.
The second half began very much as the first had, with both sides asking or giving no quarter. Having initially turned down a kickable penalty in favour of a botched catch and drive from the ensuing line out, Dings wisely opted for the points when a second bite of the cherry presented itself to extend their lead to 10 points after 14 minutes. Bees responded immediately and were rewarded with a Jolly penalty to open their account.
On the 24-minute mark and for the second time in the afternoon, a break down in a Bees attack led to a try for their hosts. Veteran full back Luke Arscott showed that he still had the pace and the class that he had when he plied his trade in the higher echelons of the game to streak down the right wing and score to the delight of the home support. Bolster failed to add the extras, but at 15-3 it was looking a long way back for the Bees.
Yet, despite losing both Kurtis Payne and Jevon Hinds to injury, the Bees refused to lie down. A driving maul yielded a try for replacement centre Adam Nunney, adding his bulk to help his pack over the line with a couple of minutes still to play.
Any hopes of an unlikely reverse at the end were dashed as the Bees were unable to secure possession from the restart, allowing Dings to run down the clock and claim the victory.
Next week (Saturday 22nd September, KO 2.30pm) will see the visit of second placed Taunton to Portway who have two wins from their opening three fixtures.
Bees v Dings: 1. Joe Foreman, 2. Dale Garner, 3. Kurtis Payne, 4. Matt Spink, 5. Andy Weaver, 6. Danny Wright, 7. Marcus Brown, 8. Umraan Jadwat, 9. Jack Jolly (P,C, YC), 10. Max Rodman, 11. Matt Dight, 12. Nathan Tilsley, 13. Dan Kelly, 14. Jevon Hinds, 15. Corey Venus.
Replacements: 16. Alex Willis 17. Stewart Pearl, 18. Ashley Scriven, 19. Adam Nunney (T), 20 Ollie Walker.
Referee:- Adam Wookey, Assistant Referees:- Adam Nicholas & Dave Philpot.