BOURNS EMERGE WITH A TRY BONUS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN MUCH MORE
NEWPORT SALOP 43 BOURNVILLE 26
Bourns once again locked horns with fellow North Midlands side Newport Salop as the final 6 games of the season got underway with issues at the top and bottom of the Midlands Premier League still to be resolved. Newport are challenging for promotion, whilst Bourns still have work to do to ensure survival.
Bourns welcomed back Sam Roe into the front row and Steve Handy at 6 after long injury lay offs. The backs needed a shuffle or two due to injury. Paul Sumner made a welcome return following a loan period at Kettering and an enforced break to the full back birth and James Acko Atkinson once again found himself out wide on the wing allowing Woz Oliver to go at 12 and James Hussey to move into 10. Alex Iles came into the squad on the bench.
It was a soggy and overcast day, but the rain relented for the kick off. Newport playing up the slope, certainly had the lions possession of the ball for the early part of the game, but their ball carriers were met with a resolute defence which was spoiled by a high penalty count at the break down. After 5 minutes, Newport kicked one of those penalties, which was the trigger for Bourns to get into the match. After 14 minutes, Bourns were getting around the corner well with hooker James Weaver regularly getting beyond the gain line. Slick handling put center Mark Coulson in some space and he scored in the corner well converted by Mitch McGahan for a 7-3 lead. It got better from the kick off as the exit box kick was positioned well on half well and under pressure, the Newport hooker couldn't gather. Bourns snapped it up at pace and 2 passes saw Mark Coulson score a brace under the posts for a well deserved 14-3 lead.
Bourns had certainly turned up and the exchanges were ferocious at times, but on 30 minutes a game changing moment when second row Rich Corr was given a red card. Newport applied pressure and Bourns kept them out until the last play of the half when after several forward drives the second row got in at the corner. The conversion failed so Bourns had a slender lead 14-8 but 40 minutes to play 1 player down and the slope to contend with.
Bourns had the ball for the first five minutes of the half but on Newport's first possession, there was a missed tackle and the other second row scored, to see Newport hit the lead by one. On 50 minutes, winger Luke Smith was adjudged to have come in from the side when the ball squirted out reducing Bourns to 13. The extra space created saw Newport have the confidence to attack wide and over the next 15 minutes the game slipped away as Newport scored 4 tries to take the game away at 43-14. It could have been a lot worse but thanks to several try saving tackles by Paul Sumner the damage was just the 4 tries.
Bourns made some changes and this galvanised the team who bossed the rest of the game in pursuit of a try bonus point. Firstly on 75 minutes the solid scrum produced a try for number 8 Drew Harper to sneak in. Bourns were looking dangerous as they had for the game and were finally rewarded with a try following a flowing move that saw Coulson take the final pass and score his hat trick as Bourns got a vital bonus point and with the last play of the game with the score now 43-26.
All 18 performed but my star man this week is Paul Sumner who hasn't played at this level for some time, who had a fine all round game attacking the line at pace, making yards and try saving tackling.
Other results didn't go to plan, but Bourns are still in a great position to control their own destiny.
Next up sees a six pointer with the re-arranged fixture against Newbold Upon Avon being played under lights at Stourbridge RFC on Friday 16th March with a 7.45 Kick off. Full details to follow...
15, Paul Sumner, 14, Luke Smith, 13, Mark Coulson, 12, Warren Oliver, 11, James Atkinson, 10, James Hussey, 9, Mitch McGahan, 8, Drew Harper, 7, Ejike Uzoigwe, 6, Steve Handy, 5, Tom Holliday (capt), 4, Rich Corr, 3, Sam Roe, 2, James Weaver, 1, Alex Willis, 16, Terry Sigley, 17, Steve Smith, Alex Iles.