GAME MANAGEMENT WINS THE DAY AS BOURNS TAKE OUT THE BREWERS FROM BURTON
BOURNVILLE 19 BURTON 10
Big match day at Bournbrook as Bourns began the second half of the season with a second versus third clash with Burton in the first of the return fixtures. The home team had a semblance of consistency as the starting pack showed just one change at loose head as Alex Willis returned for the unavailable Paul Coles. In the backs winger James Whybrow returned after injury, leaving the same bench as last week end with the exception of Steve Handy taking a place after illness.
The Burton pack were huge, particularly the front five and were certainly the biggest set of forwards Bourns had encountered so far this season, but Bourns had the better of the earliest exchanges from the whistle. In the first minute Bourns secured possession and got behind the visitors only for a forward pass to prevent an opening score. Bourns had their work cut in the scrum with some interesting scrummaging interpretations on the tight head side of Bourn's scrum. However captain Drew Harper at 8 took responsibility and cleaned up to ensure attacks could be mounted. Bourns were winning quick phase ball making the away defence scramble quickly, but several drives forced a gap and hooker Ash Knight off-loaded to flanker Ejike Uzoigwe who swan dived in after 5 minutes near the posts. James Hussey continued with the kicking duties and converted for an early 7-0 lead.
The remainder of the first quarter was a cagey affair with both sides deploying a kicking strategy which Bourns won due to the distances being kicked from hand by stand-off Mitch McGahan and James Hussey. Burton got on the score sheet after 20 minutes when Bourns turned over the ball at the back of a scrum and suddenly there was a 4 to 3 overlap and quick hands put the dangerous winger in at the corner, so game on 7-5. Bourns were working territory well with strong running from Drew Harper and the rest of the forwards. The lineout was functioning really well with off the top ball and the option to drive. One such drive yielded a penalty for in from the side and Hussey made it 10-5 after 35 minutes. Other than the Burton try, that was the only alarm of the half as Bourns dealt with the big forward drives and held their discipline only conceding 3 penalties in the half.
Bourns had the better of the first 15 minutes in the second half. Bourns were making ground with the quick re-cycling of the ball and Burton's penalty count started to go up. Bourns forced two penalties in that time with Hussey kicking both so a 16-5 lead. Burton then had some ascendancy with their forwards making ground around the break-down and forcing Bourns to concede penalties. A couple of take and drive line outs were repelled but finally the second row crashed over to make it 16-10 with 20 minutes to go.
Both sides had opportunities get in promising positions but both defences came out on top. Bourns went over the line twice, but a spillage after a good hit and Bourns unable to get the ball down failed to add to the score. The referee awarded a defensive 5 meter scrum on the second occasion which should have been attacking, however Burton conceded a penalty at the scrum and Hussey kicked the penalty to put Burton out of bonus point range for a 19-10 lead just before the end. There was a fair chunk of injury time but there were no alarms and Bourns saw it out for a win.
Bourns won the game due to better game management and defensive qualities against the Burton forwards who were a handful. The visitors will reflect on how they used the ball in non favourable positions on the field, which Bourns exploited to the full forcing penalties and kicking them. This all means Bourns are second, five points ahead of third placed Burton. Although the leaders Newport scored 30 points at Worcester Wanderers, they didn't take a try bonus point so they lead by 4 points.
Again several notable performances, but my star man this week is Captain Drew Harper who time after time got passed the gain line ensuring more than one player had to tackle him creating space for the next wave of attacks.
All that remains is to thank all our supporters for turning out in good numbers both home and away, and to our sponsors for their continued support in allowing Bournville Rugby to develop in all areas of the club from our 2nd and 3rd teams, our thriving mini and junior section and our newly formed ladies team. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a successful new year as we reconvene on Saturday 7th January with a trip to Crewe and Nantwich RFC.
A view from the side
Good game. Take a look HERE for some photos. Thanks for the comments on last weeks photos Mac. Appreciated.
Team 15, Harry Sanders, 14, James Whybrow, 13, Tom Jarvis, 12, James Hussey, 11, Chris Humphrey, 10, Mitch McGahan, 9, Sam Brown, 8, Drew Harper (capt), 7, Ejike Uzoigwe, 6, Chris Morgan, 5, Tom Holliday, 4, Rich Corr, 3, Terry Sigley, 2, Ashley Knight, 1, Alex Willis, 16, Ian Coles, 17, Steve Handy, 18, Mark Coulson.