Birmingham & Solihull Bees 31 Sheffield 14
National League Three Midlands
A LATE Danny Wright interception try sealed a deserved four-try bonus point victory for Bees on Saturday as they ended then leaders Sheffield’s four-game winning streak, writes Richard Smith.
The Bees made it five league wins in succession thanks to some effective and efficient rugby as they moved into third place, eight points off the top two.
To the credit of both sides, there were very few handling errors throughout despite the consistent drizzle at Portway.
Sheffield’s early attack into the Bees’ half resulted in the first score of the game by Steve Depledge, who darted over from close range before converting his own try.
Both sides attempted to dominate territory by kicking long from hand. Bees full back Chris Fensome looked assured all afternoon and it was his decision to counter-attack a Sheffield kick that led to Bees’ equalising try by Ashley Scriven, who glided over in the left-hand corner. Jack Jolly converted from wide out, bringing the score to 7-7.
From the kick-off Bees showed intent to build a score, working their way upfield via notable carries from props Pete Koziot and Kurtis Payne.
A Jack Jolly penalty meant the Bees went into the break leading 10-7, much to the delight of the home support.
Soon after half time, Bees extended their lead. Waves of possession led to open side flanker Michael Stephens storming between the posts for a try to which Jolly added the simple conversion to make it 17-7.
Sheffield were immediately jolted into showing the type of form which had hitherto earned them top spot in the league table.
The travelling support were encouraged when a visit to the Bees’ 22 resulted in fly half Andy Hodgson ghosting over from 15 metres out. The conversion from scrum half Depledge was successful, bringing the score to 17-14 in Bees’ favour.
Further into the second half, with the Sheffield defence penalised for offside ten metres from their own try-line, the Bees elected to take the scrum.
This turned out to be an inspired decision from captain Chris Goddard as a controlled eight-man shove allowed No 8 Danny Wright to go over close to the posts, with referee Tim Allatt awarding the score.
Jolly again added the conversion, extending the Bees’ lead to 24-14.
With the final whistle looming, Sheffield reacted with a surge of possession in search of getting themselves within reach of a losing bonus point.
An attack on the left-hand side almost put winger Alastair Womack down the left touchline, but the pass went high and into touch.
Sheffield’s endeavour to continue to play from deep and keep the ball alive was to prove fatal, however, as a high and looping pass was plucked from the air by Wright who ran in unopposed to claim Bees’ fourth try and the bonus point as Portway erupted.
Jolly capped an immaculate kicking display with a conversion from wide on the right to put the icing on the cake for the hosts with only seconds remaining.
This latest win means the Bees have recently beaten the league’s top two – Nuneaton and Sheffield – as the season sits at the halfway point.
Pete Glackin and Ben Woods’ men will no doubt go into Saturday’s fixture at lowly Bedford Athletic keen to secure a sixth straight league win before the Christmas break.