Birmingham & Solihull Bees 29-14 Bridgnorth
National League 3 Midlands
RUGBY UNION: HIGH-flying Bees kept the pressure on their top of the table rivals with a solid 29-14 defeat of Bridgnorth writes Richard Smith.
The men from Portway secured the win and the try bonus point on the hour, then took their foot of the gas allowing their visitors to score two consolation tries in the final quarter of the game.
Although not enough to chalk up a losing bonus point to take back along the M54, the late scores were just reward for a Bridgnorth side that certainly hadn’t travelled just to make up the numbers.
Despite playing into a fair breeze in the first half, the Bees fashioned out a 17-3 lead thanks to converted tries from winger Joe Bridger and flanker Michael Stephens, along with a Jack Jolly penalty. ‘North got themselves on the scoreboard thanks to a well struck penalty from centre Llew Williams.
The first Bees touchdown came from a well-read interception by centre Callum MacBurnie, who offloaded in the tackle to his winger to bag his first try in a Bees shirt. The second came on the stroke of half time after a sustained forward assault on the visitors’ line, giving Swedish referee Sarah Toll cause, in the process, to send the Bridgnorth openside flanker to the sin bin.
The Bees ascendancy continued in the second period, with No.8 Matt Spink setting up some of his trade mark runs from the base of the scrum and man of the match Andrew Weaver putting in an impressive workload around the increasingly heavy Portway pitch.
Tries by left wing Tawanda Chipadza, finishing off well in the corner after some good work by centre Ben Phillips and a typical close range score from the effervescent Jolly sealed the win and the bonus point with 20 minutes still on the clock.
The plaudits then went to Bridgnorth who showed their character and no little skill to score two tries in the gathering gloom, one whilst Bees replacement flanker Tom Price – who’s haircut was clearly sharper than his game management – found himself in the sin bin within minutes of joining the fray.
With leaders Nuneaton narrowly defeated away at Peterborough Lions and second placed Sheffield securing maximum points at home against Lichfield, the Bees’ latest five-point haul keeps them firmly in the mix at the top of the table. Currently sitting in third spot, they are now just five and six points adrift of Sheffield and Nuneaton respectively.
Pete Glackin and Ben Woods’ men have another tricky assignment in store this coming weekend as they travel to Coventry-based Broadstreet, who sit just below the Bees in the table in fourth place in the league (game is Saturday 21st January, KO 2.15pm).