A LONG and eventful 2015/16 season finally draws to an end this coming Sunday for Birmingham & Solihull Bees as they prepare to take on Newport in the North Midlands Cup Final.
The Bees have reached the final thanks to wins in two very close games – eventually beating Bromsgrove 32-37 in extra time at Finstall Park back in October and, more recently, edging out Old Halesonians 13-12 in a thriller at Portway a fortnight ago.
It is the first time the Bees have not featured in the regional cup competition for many seasons, having plied their trade in tier four or above for a number of years.
Relegation to National League Three Midlands at the end of last season presented the chance to compete for knockout silverware and it is an opportunity that the club has seized with gusto.
But they will come up against tough opposition in the shape of Newport at Dudley Kingswinford Rugby Club with both sides being being victorious in their respective away fixtures when they met in the league during league season.
Newport came out 31-34 winners in a tight game at Portway in early October despite the Bees leading 23-12 at half time thanks to tries from Wayne Child, Matt Spink and Rob Deli.
However touch-downs by Sam Foskell along with wingers Henry Vaka and Josh Evans – both of whom bagged a brace – took the five points back to Newport, despite a last minute losing bonus point try from Nyle Beckett.
The trip to Shropshire at the end of January for the return fixture was an altogether happier affair for the Bees who won 5-18 with all the points coming in the second half at a chilly homely Forton Road Ground.
Speaking ahead of the final, Dave Spencer said: “It has been a brilliant recovery from the lads to haul themselves from the foot of the table to seventh in the second half of the season and of course also to reach a cup final.”