Bees open league campaign with win over Scunthorpe - The Solihull Observer

Bees open league campaign with win over Scunthorpe

RUGBY UNION: A HAT trick from winger Steve Johns helped Birmingham and Solihull Bees earn an opening Midlands Premier League victory against Scunthorpe.

The Bees started their 2017/18 campaign at Portway, welcoming relegated Scunthorpe who dropped down from National League Two North last season.

Following an unbeaten pre-season, the Bees’ faithful were optimistic of a winning start to this year’s league.

And they weren’t left disappointed as new signing Umraan Jadwatt gave Bees a strong start when gathering the ball from kick-off.

Despite the first quarter being played predominantly in the visitors’ half, Scunthorpe took the lead when Jake Goodison converted a penalty.

Pressure from Bees eventually told though as a well-executed lineout led to the ball being shipped out to Steve Johns – who made a much-welcome return to action after missing last season through injury.

Captain Jack Jolly was unable to convert, but the Bees were ahead 5-3.

A high tackle enabled Jolly to take advantage from the resulting penalty as Bees stretched their lead to five points.

Hooker Zane Raimondi required medical attention before returning to the pitch after he picked up an unwelcome ankle injury.

It got worse for Bees when Nathan Tilsley and lock Danny Wright were both shown yellow cards for separate offences in quick succession.

Down to 13 men, Scunthorpe duly took advantage of the extra men and scored from a driving maul, making the score 8-10 after a successful conversion by Goodison.

But Bees rescued their lead before the end of the half when Steve Johns scored his second try to make the score 13-10 at the break.

Having successfully seen out the opening seven minutes with just 13 men on the pitch, Bees soon stamped their authority on the game when Johns secured his hat-trick while Jolly’s conversion extended Bees’ lead to ten points.

Matt Spink was then red carded as Scunthorpe once again found themselves with an extra man on the field.

The visitors took advantage of the 14-man Bees side as Morgan Davies went over in the left-hand corner to bring Scunthorpe within five points.

Another break left the Bees defence stretched again, but – much to the relief and approval of the home fans – they showed strength and discipline to force a mistake and hear the final whistle sound.

The win was Bees’ first victory for the first time on the opening day of the season since 2008.

Birmingham & Solihull:- 1. Kurtis Payne, 2 Zane Raimondi, 3. Matt Probert, 4. Andy Weaver, 5. Danny Wright (YC), 6. Ashley Scriven, 7. Michael Stephens, 8 Umraan Jadwatt, 9. Jack Jolly © (1P,1C), 10. Max Rodman, 11. Steve Johns (3T), 12. Nathan Tilsley (YC), 13. Jimmy Oliver, 14. Jevon Hinds, 15. Harry O’Brien, 16. Harry Smith, 17. Matt Spink (RC) & 18. Ben Phillips.

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