RUGBY UNION: BIRMINGHAM and Solihull Bees were made to work hard to continue their unbeaten run this season against Bridgnorth.
The Bees started 2018 as they ended 2017 – unbeaten and at the top of the Midlands Premier division – but a 20-10 scoreline reflected the effort Pete Glackin’s side had to put in.
Despite coming into the game in ninth position in the table, Bridgnorth proved they were a better side than their league position suggests by outplaying their hosts in virtually every department during the first half.
The Salopians took the lead through a Llew Williams penalty after having the majority of possession and territorial advantage in the first 20 minutes.
A Bees try ten minutes later came against the run of play, as Zane Raimondi finished well in the corner from a quick tap penalty.
Matt Spink was shown a yellow card by referee Matt Astle – a harsh decision from a home supporters’ point of view.
But Bridgnorth were unable to regain the lead from the subsequent penalty.
A nasty concussion-related injury to the Bridgnorth No.8 Connor Nicholls brought an early, yet entirely understandable and sensible end to the first half.
A solo score from Tawanda Chipadza within 30 seconds of the restart, plus a try for his fellow winger Steve Johns after a perfectly weighted crossfield kick from full back O’Brien, seemingly put the Bees in control at 17-3 ten minutes into the second half.
The visiting side narrowed the deficit to 17-10 on 53 minutes thanks to a well taken try by Williams, who also added the conversion.
A Rodman penalty with eight minutes to go gave a ‘two-score’ cushion and, despite pressure in the dying embers of the game, the men from Portway couldn’t fashion a fourth try to give them the bonus point.
After a five-week layoff the Bees could be forgiven for being ring-rusty and the Glackin/Pearl coaching axis will be glad to get the first game of 2018 under their belts with another “W” in the results column.
The win extends the Bees unbeaten run in the league to 13 games, keeping them seven points ahead of second-placed Peterborough Lions.
This Saturday, the Bees travel to mid table Derby in a game that kicks off at 2.15pm.
Birmingham & Solihull Bees- 1. Kurtis Payne, 2. Zane Raimondi (T), 3. Matt Probert, 4. Andy Weaver (YC), 5. Matt Spink (YC) 6. Danny Wright, 7. Michael Stephens, 8, Umraan Jadwat, 9. Jack Secher, 10.
Max Rodman (1P, 1C), 11. Steve Johns (T), 12. Nathan Tilsley, 13. Jimmy Oliver, 14. Tawanda Chipadza (T), 15. Harry O’Brien, 16. Joe Foreman, 17. Chris Thompson & 18. Ben Phillips