A SUPERB kicking performance from Adam Canning earned Birmingham & Solihull Bees a vital 35-34 win at Harrogate in their fight for survival in National League Two (North).
The victory, which was orchestrated by fly half Canning who landed 15 points with the boot, was secured in the 78th minute and could have been snatched away if Harrogate’s Joe Rowntree last minute penalty had not gone wide.
The first period was a topsy-turvy affair, with 49 points scored in 40 minutes as the Bees looked to take advantage of the slope and the brisk wind blowing down Claro Road.
However it was the home side who were first to open their account after eight minutes thanks to a try by Cam Ledley, the first of two that the winger would score in the half.
The Bees hit straight back with a try under the posts for Rob Connolly but Connolly was then forced to leave the pitch with bruising to the back.
Quick thinking and fast hands by Rod Petty and Dai Evans saw the Bees score their second try just a minute later as Harrogate put the restart straight into touch and Canning again kicked the conversion and a further penalty to push the visitors 17-5 ahead.
It was then Harrogate’s turn to go on the offensive and sustained pressure eventually yielded Cam Ledley’s second try on the 23 minute mark, which Rowntree converted.
And four minutes later Ledley’s wing partner James Morland got in on the act to score on the break and again Rowntree slotted the difficult conversion.
The last ten minutes of the half were all Bees, as they patiently went through the gears with a drop goal and penalty by Canning and the fly half set up a try for Steve Johns with a sublime break and the conversion put the visitors 11 points ahead at the break.
The Bees started the second period well before a Rowntree penalty narrowed the gap before Harrogate’s replacement forward Will Enslin crossed from close range and the conversion brought the score to 30-29 in the Bees’ favour.
And when Steve Johns was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock on, the travelling Bees fans began to fear the worst.
Those fears seemed well-founded as more Gate pressure led to a try by centre Lewis Minkin although Rowntree was unable to add the extras which put the hosts six points in front with six minutes remaining.
But the Bees showed character and resolve to create a match winning second try for Dai Evans in the corner.
Hearts were in the mouth again as Rowntree had a chance to steal the win with last gasp penalty but he missed and the Bees secured five vital league points on a ground where very few teams have won this season.