PROMOTION ACHIEVED AFTER AN ASSURED PERFORMANCE AT KETTERING
KETTERING 19 BOURNVILLE 55
The Midlands 1 East/West play-off for promotion to level 5 of the rugby playing pyramid to be called Midlands Premier for next season, was the prize on offer as Bourns visited Kettering to contest the spoils. Buoyed by a healthy travelling support to swell the ranks of the large home crowd, the team showed just two changes from the starting 15 from the Worcester Wanderers game. Harry Sanders was preferred at full back for the unlucky Chris Humphrey and Paul Coles swapped places with Alex Willis on the loose head side with Alex reverting to the bench. With the extra sub being allowed Ian Coles came in to front row cover.
Bourns chose to go slightly up hill in the first half and against a slight breeze, and started well with the forwards going through the phases, however the home side were coping in defence keeping Bourns outside their 22. With their first possession of the game which came courtesy of a fielded "up an under", the back three countered and suddenly their was space out wide. A missed tackle was punished as the home 7 sprinted to the corner which raised the volume of the home crowd after 6 minutes. After 10 minutes, almost a carbon copy as Kettering countered once more from a kick, this time a chip was put in and it bounced perfectly for the Kettering centre who off loaded to the winger to run in under the posts for a 12-0 home lead.
Once again, there was no panic and the remainder of the half saw Bourns rack up 27 unanswered points scored from controlled and clinical play. After 14 minutes, Bourns drove in field from a line out and were held up under the posts and turned over. The scrum half had time to kick to touch whilst in goal, but he chose to pass and the alert Tom Jarvis snaffled it and touched down for an easy conversion by James Hussey give Bourns an "in" at 7-12. After 20 minutes, captain and number 8 Drew Harper picked up at the base of a scrum on half way and eluded his back row opposition. He was caught on the 22 but off loaded to the supporting Sam Brown who in turn got an off load away to blind side flanker Chris Morgan who flopped over in the corner. A Hussey penalty soon followed giving Bourns the lead 15-12.
The home side were struggling at the breakdown under pressure and were conceding penalties. Bourns again drove from the lineout in field where the home side infringed from coming in at the side. The scrum was looking solid so a 5 meter scrum was called, a little nudge forward and a slight wheel created the space for a text book number 8 pick up score for Drew making it 22-12 with the extra's. Just before half time the forwards again were knocking the door after a series of drives. Scrum half Sam Brown saw a gap and stretched for the line to make it 27-12 as half time approached. There was time for a re-start which Kettering won and they drove into the 22. Bourns infringed and Kettering chose to move the ball wide from the penalty, but the defence was up to the task forcing a knock on, so 27-12 to the good.
It was great to see the support and encouragement of the players on the bench and those who didn't make the 19 as the team came in to the huddle. Great to see..
More of the same was ordered and the team delivered playing rugby in the right areas and playing territory with some great kicking by fly-half Mitch McGahan. After 55 minutes, the forwards drove a line out in the 22 almost to the line. Sam Brown took control, threw a dummy and scored near the posts for another Hussey conversion. Kettering never gave up the ghost and some good forward interplay saw them score in the corner as the game entered the final quarter so 34-19.The bench was emptied and the subs all impacted. Bourns then took complete control as the backs began to stretch the home defence. Mitch made a break against a tiring defence and fed Hussey for another score under the posts. Rob Young on at number 8 picked up at a 5 meter scrum and had the strength to go over in the corner. Hussey capped a fine performance from him finishing off a move that contained two outrageous dummies to make the final score 55-19.
Fantastic game management and clinical finishing capped a great team performance and secured promotion. Kettering were most gracious in defeat and were fantastic hosts all day. Star man for probably his best game in a Bournville shirt was centre James Hussey. With promotion secured, just one piece of business to take care of as old rivals Halesonians ( who we will meet again in the league next season) stand in the way of cup success as the teams lock horns once more for the right to be county cup champions on North Midlands Cup Finals day next Sunday 7th May at Dudley Kingswinford RFC. Further details to follow.
Thanks for all the support this season, just one more push for the cup...
15, Harry Sanders, 14, James Whybrow, 13, Tom Jarvis, 12, James Hussey, 11, Warren Oliver, 10, Mitch McGahan, 9, Sam Brown, 8, Drew Harper (capt), 7, Ejike Uzoigwe, 6, Chris Morgan, 5, Tom Holliday, 4, Steve Handy, 3, Terry Sigley, 2, Ash Kinght, 1, Paul Coles, 16, Alex Willis, 17, Ian Coles, 18, Rob Young, 19, Rob Griffin.