RUGBY UNION: A BONUS point was all Birmingham & Solihull Bees had to show from their trip to Broadstreet as a nine-game unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday as their in the National League Midlands 3 title hopes took a hit, writes Richard Smith.
Broadstreet carved out a deserved 15-7 victory against the Bees, leap-frogging their opponents in the table and leaving Pete Glackin’s men plenty to ponder on as they made the short journey back along the A46.
The game between sides placed third and fourth in the league was always going to be a tight one, but it was a contest that the Bees needed to win if they were going to keep up with the pace setters at the top of the table and they never really look like winning.
A tight first half saw just five points on the scoreboard and they were added within the first five minutes of the game.
Broadstreet winger Ed Boxall finished adroitly in the left-hand corner after a neat kick through from fly half Sam Hollingsworth but ex-Bee Lee Chapman missed the conversion and two penalty attempts in the first period.
Much of the first 40 minutes were played in the Bees’ half as the men in red and green gave their visitors’ defence a thorough examination.
Even when down to 14 men, with skipper Mike Worthington sent to the sin bin following a minor fracas involving opposition scrum half Jack Jolly, Broadstreet managed to keep a stranglehold on proceedings.
The Bees managed to shake off some of the cobwebs in the third quarter, but a lack of precision coupled with an inability to use the width of the well-manicured Ivor Preece pitch meant that they had nothing to show for all their territory and possession.
The sense that the game was slowly slipping away from the visitors was ostensibly confirmed with the sin binning of prop Pete Koziot. The veteran loose-head was deemed to have collapsed the scrum by referee Adam Smith.
Five minutes later Chapman slotted his first kick of the game to give Broadstreet an 8-0 lead but the men from Portway hit back and winger Tawanda Chipadza won a race to the ball after a well-weighted kick from centre Ben Phillips to touch down.
With the conversion added and now just one point separating the two sides, a grandstand finish could have been in prospect.
Yet visiting supporters’ hopes were also immediately dashed as dynamic openside flanker Chris Idehen waltzed in, largely unopposed, from 20 metres out, to restore the lead. With a rejuvenated Chapman adding the extras, a deserved win for the home side was effectively sealed.
A Jack Jolly penalty at the death fell short – something of a metaphor for his team’s performance – and the Bees were denied even the consolation of a losing bonus point.
The Bees will need to regroup and rediscover their mojo promptly with sixth-placed Derby the visitors to Portway this Saturday.