Nuneaton were the opposition visiting Avery Fields on a cold and blustery afternoon. Bourns had to make changes as players from last time out needed extra time to recover. Up front, Scott Rudge made his first starting appearance at hooker. Tom Holliday returned to the starting second row allowing Rich Corr to play at 8. In the backs, Henry Hughes was available and took his place at 13. On the bench, Mark Coulson, Matt McKeown and making his debut replace prop Jack Foster. Will Hardwick was preferred at scrum half.
Bourns played against the wind in the first half and early on, it was clear that both sides wanted quick ball in order to put pace and width on the game. After six minutes, stand -off and head coach Mitch McGahan pounced on a loose pass in midfield and easily made the 30 metres to the posts. He converted his own score and Bourns were 7 points to the good. Both sides were running well but both were guilty of some loose passing denting promising attacking opportunities. After a line break, full back Paul Sumner ran 40 meters only to be tackled just short, but contact on the ground saw the ball go agonisingly forward with the line beckoning. After 16 minutes, Mitch saw space behind the Nuns back line and kicked ahead. Ring wing Jordy Hopp playing his last game before returning to Holland to represent the under 20's, showed a good turn of speed and snatched the ball on the line for the score. 12-0.
Nuns then enjoyed some possession and started to make a few line breaks. After 24 minutes, the Nuns well drilled line out drove to the corner for a well deserved try. 12-5. However the response was immediate. Bourns kicked long and the Nuns 9 tried to take the kick over his head. The ball caught the faintest of touches on the tips of his fingers and the ball bounced in goal. With a rather sheepish touchdown, a 5 meter scrum was awarded despite the Nuns captain arguing a different opinion. A solid scrum provided quick ball and a gap was created for Paul Sumner to crash over. The kick slid wide making it 17-5. Nuns kicked a penalty right on half time making it 17-8.
Despite having the wind in the second period, Nuns were having the majority of the possession taking a share of the Bourn's line out ball. The home defence was sound enough but Nuns were knocking the door. On 60 minutes, they missed a kickable penalty. The drop out went long but the counter was good aided by some missed tackles and the flanker was driven over in the corner, 17-12. With 15 minutes to go, Paul Sumner leapt like a salmon to intercept a pass and sprinted in from the opposition 22. A fine touch line kick extended the lead to 24-13. Bourns really should have scored again making a mess of a two man overlap, then started conceding penalties giving hope to Nuns. On 71 minutes a mid field scrum on half way saw the Nuns number 8 pick up, Bourns stood off and once the ball reached the right wing, he had momentum and with some quick feet he scored which was crucially converted from wide out 24-20. Bourns were holding on and some magnificent defence on their line kept the Nuns out, but there was a break down offence. Last play was called, so Nuns kicked for the corner, and drove over in similar style to what Bourns have done in recent games at the death and scored on the last play. Tom Holliday was shown a red card for verbalising the situation and with the conversion not meaning anything, Nuns nicked it 25-24.
Bourns will be disappointed, but took two vital league points with just 4 games left and still sit reasonably positioned in mid table, but still needing points to ensure mathematically their Midlands Premier League status.
Star man was loose head prop James Burgoyne who was well ahead on the carrying stakes once again. It's a week off next weekend to re-charge the batteries, but the team will be training hard for the visit to Cheshire to face the un-predictable and our good friends Sandbach in two weeks time.
Team: 15, Paul Sumner, 14, Jordy Hopp, 13, Henry Hughes, 12, John Hargreaves, 11, Ethan Walker, 10, Mitch McGahan, 9, Will Hardwick, 8, Rich Corr, 7, Angus Low, 6, Harry Hudson, 5, Tom Holliday, 4, Steve Handy (capt), 3, Sam Roe, 2, Scott Rudge, 1, James Burgoyne, 16, Jack Foster, 17, Matt McKeown, 18, Mark Coulson.
Match Report by Mick Palmer
Updated 15:50 - 17 Mar 2019 by Jon Terry