IT'S THE FIVE POINTS THAT COUNT THAT ENSURE SAFETY
HALESONIANS 24 BOURNVILLE 30
It was all about the 5 points as Bourns knew this would mathematically secure Midlands Premier League rugby for next season. In a fairly forgettable game played out against local rivals Halesonians, the result was all it was about rather than the performance as Bourns were pushed all the way by a club re-building its brand and future.
The only change from the momentous win over Nuneaton last time out in the forwards was veteran prop Terry Sigley swapped places with Alex Willis who reverted to the bench. The long awaited debut of young scrum half Will Hardwick finally occurred after injury, allowing Mitch McGahan to return to familiar surroundings at stand off. Centre Henry Hughes returned making Tom Jarvis move to 15 and Paul Sumner moving to the wing. Matt Dickerson and James Hussey completed the bench.
Heavy rain had fallen but the Hales pitch stood up well and conditions were fine, if a trifle windy. Hales had by far the better of the first quarter as they pressured Bourns in every department and saw most of the ball. After 7 minutes Tom Jarvis got his bearings wrong and committed a tip tackle earning him an early 10 minute rest. Bourns went down to 13 a few minutes later when winger Woz Oliver slowed the ball down cynically and had a similar rest period. A minute later Hales exploited space on the short side and the centre took an off load for a deserved score. Bourns responded well once Jarvo returned as the forwards got rumbling and Will Hardwick was sniping well at the base. However just before Woz returned Bourns lost possession in good attacking positions at the line out and Hales scored again with their speedy left wing crossing the white wash, so 12-0 adrift.
If the first quarter belonged to Hales, then Bourns re-dressed the balance as the backs started to threaten with centres Coulson and Hughes coming more and more into the game. With the forwards all getting plenty of carrying, Will Hardwick eyed a gap close out and scored a debut try on 30 minutes, which was closely followed by a second as from a line out Tom Holliday created havoc in the 22 and the ball was quickly released to Mitch who off loaded to Coulson to score for a 14-12 lead. Hales lost a flanker for collapsing a maul close out, which wasn't taken advantage of and that remained the score until half time.
Bourns started the second half well and finally put some width on the play that Hales couldn't cope with Paul Sumner scoring in the corner. The forwards were exerting pressure and the penalty count was rising alarmingly for Hales which prevented further scores. The clear out of the day under the posts saw Mitch kick a penalty closely followed by another to give Bourns a 25-12 lead by now. Another move on 69 minutes saw the Hales defence stretched and Sumner bagged his second in the corner for a 30-12 lead and the try bonus point. Hales never gave up the ghost and at the end they scored two tries the latter being a gift of an interception to leave the final score at 30-24 ensuring Midlands Premier League rugby next year for Bourns as they move to their new ground for next season.
Not the greatest of games for the travelling support, but job done leaving the final two games of the season to play freely and begin the journey for next season. Star man has to be flanker Ejike Uzoigwe for that clear out!
Two home games complete the season with play off chasing Peterborough Lions visiting Bournbrook next week as they seek to wrap up second place in the league. They are a fine side with several excellent players from around the globe playing in their ranks. It promises to be a high scoring affair just like the reverse fixture.
Team : 15, Tom Jarvis, 14, Paul Sumner, 13, Mark Coulson, 12, Henry Hughes, 11, Warren Oliver, 10, Mitch McGahan, 9, Will Hardwick, 8, Drew Harper, 7, Ejike Uzoigwe, 6, Steve Handy, 5, Tom Holliday (capt), 4, Steve Smith, 3, Sam Rowe, 2, James Weaver, 1, Terry Sigley, 16, Alex Willis, 17, Matt Dickerson, 18, James Hussey.