ANOTHER CLOSE ONE, BUT BOURNS JUST MISS OUT
BOURNVILLE 13 BRIDGNORTH 19
Credit must go to both teams as despite the bitterly cold wind and driving rain for the duration of the match, they served up a decent game of rugby for those hardy souls who braved the adverse weather conditions.
Bridgnorth are having a great season and are right in the mix for a top two finish. Bourns have hit a wall and can't quite get over the line having lost several games of late from winning positions. The home team made one change in the backs with James Whybrow returning to a wing position, replacing Ethan Walker who moved to the bench. Another change was on the flank as Matt McKeown came in at 6 for the unavailable Jonjo Fanning.
Bourns certainly had the better of the early exchanges as they camped in the visitors' 22. There were several drives from the forwards and the backs probed, but the North defence held out for 5 minutes and secured a turn over penalty. North then had some possession aided by a flurry of penalties for mid-field offside and not rolling away. On 12 minutes one of those penalties was kicked to 10 meters out. A neat move at the front of the line out saw North score in the corner for a 5 -0 lead.
Bourns kept on pressing and were rewarded with a try on 25 minutes when loose head James Burgoyne made one of several marauding runs behind the gain line and after running 40 meters, he was just held up. Bourns had numbers over and the quick re-cycle saw centre Henry Hughes go in near the corner. Goal kicking was always going to be difficult with the rain and swirling wind, so the game was even at 5-5. The scrums were keenly contested. The North 8 had nudges on but Bourns made two tactical front row changes which had some effect as an attacking North scrum in the 22 was shunted back, but the home backs were too eager and where caught offside. North elected to scrum again, nearer the try line this time and as the scrum wheeled and moved forward, Bourns were adjudged to have stood up and the penalty try was awarded on 30 minutes giving North a 12-5 lead.
Bourns reacted well again and great forward drives from a line out saw the ball shipped one way, then back the other and with four smart passes, captain Steve Handy found himself on the wing and crashed over from 5 meters to close the gap to 10-12. One of the North backs damaged an already heavily bandaged knee which added several minutes of injury time. Bourns tried a kick at goal which just shaved the posts from 35 meters out to the left, but finished the half on the front foot 10-12 adrift.
As the rain increased from heavy to really heavy, it was the visitors who started the better in the second half. Henry Hughes took one for the team for a slap down under the posts. North elected to scrum, but Bourns held it making the scrum half pass. He found the centre with a great pass and he stepped into the gap vacated by the sin binning to score under the posts. So 10-19. No more damage was done whilst Henry was off the field. Both sides attacked with vigour, but the defences were sound and organised. Bourns forceda penalty in the 22 on 65 minutes and Rhys Harrhy converted to reduce the arrears to 6.
Bourns created pressure, but just couldn't unlock the visitors defence. In the final play Bourns drove into the 22 and were nearing the line, but a hand in the ruck trying to secure the ball, relieved the pressure and North held out for a 6 point win at 19-13.
Fantastic effort. Surely the tide will turn and Bourns will climb up the table in the new year.
Star man was once again James Burgoyne who held his own at scrum time and was at the front of the queue in the carrying stakes, making considerable yardage during the game and at pace.
League action returns after the holiday break with an away fixture at Broad Street on the 5th January 2019 kick off 2.15pm.
15, Paul Sumner, 14, Jordy Hopp, 13, Henry Hughes, 12, Mark Coulson, 11, James Whybrow, 10, Mitch McGahan, 9, Rhys Harrhy, 8, Ejike Uzoigwe, 7, Angus Low, 6, Matt McKeown, 5, Rich Corr, 4, Steve Handy (capt), 3, Terry Sigley, 2, Jamie White, 1, James Burgoyne, 16, James Weaver, 17, Sam Roe, Ethan Walker.
A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readers...