BIRMINGHAM & Solihull Bees took a vital step towards survival as they secured a 25-15 victory over Dings Crusaders in National League Two South.
It was crucial the Bees clinched a positive result as they closed the gap on Old Redcliffians to 11 points, who sit just outside the relegation zone as Birmingham’s nearest relegation rivals.
Winger Luke Smith got the hosts off to a flyer when finishing off a great break by Umraan Jadwat in the first minute between the posts, utilising his sheer pace to pull away from the opposition defence.
Jack Jolly successfully converted for an early 7-0 lead to set down a marker for the rest of the game, adding another penalty conversion either side of one for Sam Perry down the other end.
Flanker Tom Knight wound his way through the Bees’ defence en route to securing a first try of the afternoon for the Bristol side on 25 minutes, but there was the consolation for the Bees that the conversion was squandered – much in part to Matt Dight’s excellent defensive run to charge the conversion down and prevent the scores being deadlocked.
Birmingham & Solihull swayed the tide back into their favour however in the closing stages of the first half, as Matt Spink expertly took a reverse disguised pass from Jolly to crash over the line at a vital stage of the contest, the conversion also successfully kicked for a 17-8 lead at the break.
Despite being a man down through an earlier yellow card, the resolute Dings defence was next broken with their player back on the pitch following a sin-bin, Jadwat scoring from an attacking scrum that took place five metres from Crusaders’ try line.
Although the conversion was kicked short, the 22-8 lead looked a secure one for the Bees, until Josh Trinham’s try and Steve Plummers conversion cut the gap between the two sides to just seven points.
Another penalty from Jolly eased the pressure on the Bees to see out the win, whilst a gritty home defence were impenetrable in the closing stages as Dings looked to make the final few moments nervous, but Birmingham & Solihull stuck it out to secure four points.
Next up for Pete Glackin’s side is a trip to the West Country this Saturday (2.30pm) with fourth-placed Taunton Titans set to welcome the Bees.