BOURNS SECURE AT LEAST A PLAY OFF SPOT IN A NIGGLY ENCOUNTER WITH WHITCHURCH
BOURNVILLE 27 WHITCHURCH 8
Bournville knew that a 5 point win on the penultimate weekend of the regular season would secure a play off berth regardless of what our rivals Stratford and Hereford could achieve. So with "April showers" visiting Bournbrook regularly during the match, the scene was set for a tense encounter. What followed was an untidy, bad-tempered affair with a red card, 5 yellow cards, several injuries and 3 outbursts of fighting involving most of the players, not to mention some off the ball silliness that prevented a spectacle. This was fairly strange as both sides looked to run the ball at every opportunity but with the breakdown being a "pit-fight" and space narrowed by offside in the backs, frustrations boiled over.
The Bourns team showed just one enforced change from the starting 15. A winger crisis meant young flanker James Atkinson was given the responsibility of covering the right wing picked for his pace and tackling ability. The only other change was on the bench as prop Ian Coles was drafted onto the bench as Steve Blackburn hadn't recovered from his knock the week before.
Bourns started the strongest and from an offside in the backs after 2 minutes, Warner kicked a 30 metre kick through the uprights. However Bourns conceded a penalty from the kick off picking up the ball in front from a knock on, however the kick strayed wide. Whitchurch then used some possession with their tricky centre proving elusive. A couple of penalties allowed Whitchurch to pin back Bourns on their line. An attempted take and drive was thwarted, but the ball was moved wide and a penalty advantage saw Whitchurch create an overlap for their centre to score an easy try. Centre James Whybrow was sin-binned during the play for not releasing the tackler in the red zone, so a double whammy for Bourns to deal with. The conversion again slid wide, so a slender 5-3 lead after 13 minutes to the visitors. Bourns once again didn't panic and secured good possession from a line out. A combination of forwards and backs stretched the Whitchurch defence. Some will say Bourns should have scored earlier in the move as a pass went astray, but Bourns showed composure and Alex Warner wiggled his way over in the corner for the score. Unfortunately he aggravated an old injury, but stayed on the field to kick a fine conversion from the touch line for a 10-5 lead after 17 minutes. He left the fray as a precaution, but soon after flanker Rich Corr suffered a chest injury after a heavy tackle and like wise the Whitchurch centre suffered a shoulder injury from another tackle leaving both teams to re-shuffle after 25 minutes. The first instalment of foul play began resulting in the Whitchurch flanker taking a 10 minute break, but this seemed to galvanise the visitors as they had their best spell of the game and just before half time, they kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit to 10-8.
It was beginning to simmer on the pitch after the break. Bourns were frustrated with their own distribution in open play and the spoiling tactics deployed at the breakdown. A red zone offence saw the other flanker take a 10 minute break. Bourns chose to kick for the corner. The line out drive was halted and after several phases, hooker Ash Knight scored under the posts converted by stand in kicker scrum half Sam Brown after 48 minutes. Whitchurch were boxed in, inside their 22 and their exit kicks didn't make touch allowing the counter attack. One such attack saw stand in fly half Tom Jarvis make a break and kick for the corner and once again full back Paul Sumner won the race to the touch down to score try 24 of the season for him. The lead was now 22-7 after 54 minutes.
Bourns spurned several chances to score as Whitchurch defended like men in the trenches, but the game then twice spilled over in outbreaks of fighting. On 72 Minutes second row Steve Handy crashed over for the bonus point score. Whitchurch then lost composure and suffered two yellow cards and a red card for referee abuse. Bourns were no angels and were lucky not to be sanctioned themselves as the game degenerated and the final whistle was a blessing.
On the positive front, a "dog" performance will hold Bourns in good stead for the final game of the regular season at home to Worcester Wanderers next week end before a date is to be confirmed for the play-off fixture away to Derby that will depend on whether Bridgnorth can secure the title at Whitchurch next week end. Details will be posted via web-site and social media.
Star man this week has to be hooker Ashley Knight for his barnstorming runs and general all round play.
Sully's Bit at the bottom of the page
Considering the amount of rain that fell in the night, I was surprised to find the pitch in such great condition - a credit to the grounds staff of the Uni. What a shame we had persistent drizzle in the 2nd half as I spent most of it with the trusty Nikon hidden under my coat, hence quite a few sequential photos. A few players benefited from this, so sorry, to those whose efforts I missed.
Since I started posting my Bournville RFC photos on Flickr in April 2011, I have had over 380,000 views. Oh for 1p a view!
I attend all 1st team home games and a few away fixtures too. I think it's only fair that I 'spread the joy" and photograph the 2nds and 3rd teams when the 1sts are away. This has proved difficult this year due to the weather and matches being called off at the last minute. I think I turned up to 3 or 4 of those. I will try to attend any game if asked.
As usual, the photos are available to anyone that wants them and unlike some clubs at this level, at no cost. Easiest way to get best quality copies is to join Flickr, which is free, hunt me out on there and make contact. You will be able to download originals to your hearts content.
Take a butchers HERE for a drizzle shortened selection of photos from the game.
Sully Bournville's always friendly (and free) photographer
15, Paul Sumner, 14, James Atkinson, 13, Tom Jarvis, 12, James Whybrow, 11, James Atkinson, 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, Paul Coles, 16, Ian Coles, 17, Tom Holliday, 18, Chris Morgan.