DOGGED defence in the final 20 minutes of Birmingham and Solihull Bees’ latest fixture earned them a hard fought 9-13 away victory against Bedford Athletic, writes Steve Johns.
Bees made three changes to the match day squad that defeated league leaders Sheffield the previous week, with Mikey Whettell starting at outside centre and Matt Tibbatts and Joe Foreman among the forward replacements.
An excellent pitch surface left both sides expecting to turnover plenty of tries, but instead the game delivered an abundance of heroic defensive efforts.
Jack Jolly slotted a penalty inside five minutes to give the Bees an early lead.
Bees intended to win the forward battles while Bedford aimed to attack on the wing, which forced Michael Stephens and Jevon Hinds to make two well-timed tackles to save Bees from going two scores down.
Prior to the end of the first half, sustained Bees pressure led to a scrum ten metres from the Bedford line.
In a repeat of last week’s forward effort, an eight-man Bees shove took them to the try line, at which point referee George Selwood ran under Bedford’s posts to award a penalty try.
Jolly added the conversion to make the score 0-10.
As Bedford looked to open their account before the break, Bees’ winger Tawanda Chipadza was judged to have not rolled away after making a crucial tackle, earning him a second yellow card as the whistle blew for half time.
The start of the second half brought another Bees yellow card, as Zane Raimondi left the field for a high tackle.
Bedford took full advantage of the additional men as Steve Smith kicked the resulting penalty and soon added another, making it 6-10.
A further kick added another three points to Bedford’s tally, but the pendulum swung further in the visitors favour when a Bees attack was then stopped due to a high tackle – Jack Jolly duly capitalised with a penalty from 30 metres out on the angle, to claw back a 9-13 lead.
Bees managed to withstand late pressure from the home side as the referee blew his whistle, Birmingham and Solihull Bees winning 9-13.
The Bees now sit third in the National League 3 Midlands table, ten points adrift of leaders Nuneaton and just five points behind Sheffield.
Picture: Neil Tunney.