PLAY OFFS STILL IN SIGHT AFTER BIG WIN AT WALSALL....
WALSALL 12 BOURNVILLE 63....
The final away trip of the regular season saw Bourns travel the short distance along the A34 to neighbours Walsall. Unfortunately Walsall have suffered relegation already but would still keep things going especially in front of a decent crowd at Delves Road. The early morning rain had cleared to leave a fine sunny afternoon with the pitch just right for some running rugby. The team showed a couple of changes from last time out. James Whybrow made his second injury come back of the season at 12. New signing Rich Corr made his full debut at 6. Steve Handy returned to more familiar surroundings in the second row, which meant Tom Holliday took a turn on the bench with flanker Chris Morgan and returning prop Paul Coles from a short injury lay off. It was good to see a few old boys supporting the team on their travels including George Bara, and Steve McMeekan.
Bourns dominated from the off and scored two un- converted tries in the first five minutes. Bourns went through several phases constructing play steadily into the opposition 22. The defence was stretched one way then the other before winger Steffan Cooksammy scored in the corner to kick things off. From the kick off Bourns took possession and did exactly the same thing again, only this time captain Rob Griffin found himself on the wing to shrug off a would be tackler from close range.
Bourns were then forced to make a change as prop Steve Blackburn pulled a quad and was replaced by the experienced ex captain Paul Coles. Walsall enjoyed some possession but couldn't find a gap in the Bourns defence forcing the stand off to kick. One such kick was fielded on halfway and run back with interest by Cooksammy and Whybrow on 21 minutes. The forwards got involved and were held up. From the resulting scrum under the posts, a simple number 8 pick up to the wide scrum half saw a couple of passes for an easy score for full back Paul Sumner in the corner. After 29 minutes Walsall did get on the sheet courtesy of slap stick attempts to pick up a loose ball that shot out the scrum without control. The ball seemed to take on a tub of grease as two Bournville players failed to pick up or dive on the loose ball. The Walsall winger hacked on and earned the ball bounce to score in the corner which was followed by a fine conversion. So despite the majority of possession Bourns only had a 15-7 lead. However there was no need for worry as Bourns scored 4 smashing tries in the remaining minutes of the half including one spectacular effort which all supporters and coaching staff applauded. For the record winger Warren "Woz " Oliver scored it, but it started under Bourns own posts. A penalty advantage was still being played so it was a free hit. Great vision by Warner released the backs and some deft handling and switch moves saw hooker Ash Knight take the ball on in the opposition 22. A fantastic cover tackle was made by the home centre but the off load of the season saw Woz canter over under the posts. Walsall player's faces visibly dropped after this score. Further tries were scored by Sumner and Cooksammy as the backs ran riot. Sandwiched in between was a fine solo effort by flanker Bobbie Lawrenson who fielded a re-start on his own 22 and carved open the defence like Moses parting the waves and had the pace to sprint out wide to score in the corner. So 7 tries in the first half and just one conversion by Warner meant a healthy half time lead of 37-7.
The rest of the bench was emptied at half time and Bourns continued in the same vain. Walsall enjoyed some periods of possession but weren't able to penetrate and coupled with some passing issues, their attacks came to nought. Bourns continued to create opportunities, but several un-forced forward passes when tries beckoned halted further progress. However Bourns did score 4 second half tries and Warner found some kicking form converting 3 of them. Paul Sumner scored a third personal try after some neat back play securing yet another hat-trick for the try machine. Other scorers were James Whybrow who came through the match un-scathed and showed what he is capable of which bows well for the final run in. Drew Harper finished off a fine move and Bobbie Lawrenson scored a second try late on. Walsall scored again from a move from a scrum but was pure consolation for the home side. So a final score of 63-12 to Bourns to confirm a good day at the office. The day got even better as news filtered through that Bridgnorth and Hereford both lost making the last few weeks even more interesting, but Bourns need to focus on controlling the controllable and win their last two games at home to ensure a play off spot at worst. The play-off berth will be secured if Bourns win next week at home to Whitchurch. Bridgenorth need to slip up again if the championship is to become a possibility.
Star man once again was Bobbie Lawrenson for his work rate around the park, his turnovers at the break down and for his two excellent tries.
Team : 15, Paul Sumner, 14, Stefan Cooksammy, 13, Tom Jarvis, 12, James Whybrow, 11, Warren Oliver, 10, Alex Warner, 9, Sam Brown, 8, Drew Harper, 7, Bobbie Lawrenson, 6, Richard Corr, 5, Steve Handy, 4, Rob Griffin (capt), 3, Terry Sigley, 2, Ashley Knight, 1, Steve Blackburn, 16, Paul Coles, 17, Chris Morgan, 18, Tom Holliday...
You have got to love our weather. It looked quite miserable an hour before the off, when out came the sun and off came the jackets. Great day, great result and a few photos. The poor light excuse won't wash this week. A similar set up to Bournville's pitch with regards to the sun. Behind my back looking into the stand, so that's where I try to keep it. I ventured to the other side in the 2nd half as the sun moved. Typical though, the wind was always taking the game to the far touchline, so unless someone has a spare £6k and want to spend it on some serious glass,the photos are what they are. Take a look HERE for a generous selection of photos from the game. My favourite photo? Probably the missing man/ extra legs shot - you will know what I mean when you see it.
I see Pitchero is working now - another great balanced match report from Mike - I have updated the cover photo
Sully - Bournville's always friendly (and free) photographer