BOURNS HUFF AND PUFF BUT CAN'T BREAK THE BRIDGNORTH HOUSE DOWN
By Mick Palmer
BOURNVILLE 13 BRIDGNORTH 22
The game was played on Bournville's sister ground at Metchley Lane on a bright end of summer day and was a league and North Mids Cup Q-Final double header. Bourns had to make several changes from last weeks opening fixture due to a backs crisis caused by injury and other un-availability. So Tom Jarvis went to stand off, Rob Eatough returning from injury partnered Warren Oliver in the centres, Ash Knight was asked to return to the wing with Rich Murray making a rare appearance, and Paul Sumner was asked to play at 15. With Ash moving back to wing from hooker, this meant a debut for young Conor Thorneycroft, Adam Woodfield replaced the injured Ian Coles at tight head. Skipper Rob Griffin moved back to the row with Steve Handy and Jamie Sutton returned to flanker with Chris Morgan allowing Gus Taylor to make his full first start at 9. Steve Smith moved to the bench, Paul Coles provided the front row cushion and second team Captain Alex Iles was a late addition to the bench.
For the first 30 minutes the changes didn't seem to bother the home side as they monopolised possession working the patterns practised on the training ground. Forwards working well around the corner well, scrum causing the visitors problems and the backs looking menacing. Bridgnorth have to be credited with some well organised defence that only yielded 13 points in the form of two early penalties in the first 10 minutes from stand in kicker Tom Jarvis from fairly central positions around the 22 and a fine opportunist try from Tom eying a gap as the defensive backs were lying flat, he chipped over and easily won the race to the touch down which he converted for a 13-0 lead.
From there the wheels fell off and weren't replaced as Bourns contributed to their own down fall when put under pressure for the first time in the match. From a defensive lineout the visitors stole the line out and drove towards the line. The attack was quelled but some needless afters meant number 8 Drew Harper saw yellow. The visitors quite rightly opted for another catch and drive but repeated infringements meant prop Adam Woodfield saw yellow. Bridge changed tact and opted for a scrum but sacrificing a back to make the Bournville scrum a 7, Bourns kept their line intact for several minutes until numbers finally told and the second row goal hanging on the wing crashed over. To only concede 5 points with two players off was a great effort but it took its toll.
Bournville's penalty count dramatically increased as the game wore on and Bridgnorth sensed the come back was more than possible. Showing great composure and patience in attack ( sadly lacking in the home side), they carved out opportunities with the roles reversed from the first half with Bourns showing their tackling prowess outside. With 13 minutes to go The visitors got their right wing in to dive in at the corner and the fly half converted from the touch line to make it 13-12. Bourns had some chances the best falling to Rob Eatough who was just dragged down short but the forwards continued to infringe.
As the game entered the last five minutes Bourns had some respite with a lineout on half way, but it went horribly wrong and the visitors scrum half picked up the loose ball at the back of the line out and rode some pretty tired tackling to run in from around 40 meters to the delight of the travelling support. The conversion meant a 6 point game as Bridgnorth led for the first time in the match. Bourns did their best in the final moments but another wrong option led to another penalty which took Bourns out of losing bonus point range, so a loss 13-22.
Bourns will rue 15 minutes of the game with players down in the sin bin and the unacceptable penalty count now 40 in 2 games..
Bridgnorth are a well organised unit and will cause several problems to established clubs playing at this level.
As for Bourns, time to reflect, then park this performance and bounce back at Burton next week..
15, Paul Sumner, 14, Rich Murray, 13, Robin Eatough, 12, Warren Oliver, 11, Ashley Knight, 10, Tom Jarvis, 9 Gus Taylor, 8 Drew Harper, 7, Jamie Sutton, 6, Chris Morgan, 5, Steve Handy, 4, Rob Griffin (capt), 3, Adam Woodfield, 2 Conor Thorneycroft, 1 Steve Blackburn, 16, Paul Coles, 17, Steve Smith, 18, Alex Iles.
I think Mike has summed up the feelings I got from the supporters I spoke to as I toured the pitch taking a few photos. Too many penalties. I set up at the end Bournville were attacking. In the first 20 minutes -we had wave upon wave of great attacking play. Then Bridgenorth made a break to the other end of the pitch and battle commenced. The rest is history. So, the photos.......awkward to take with the light forever changing but a bad workman always blames his tools. So take a look HERE for a few photos of the match.
Lee Sullivan, Bournville's, always friendly (and free) photographer