HARRY HOUDINI COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT BETTER AS BOURNS GRAB THE POINTS
Bournville 29 Doncaster Phoenix 26
Another "6" pointer as Bourns continued the journey to climb to mid table safety as Doncaster Phoenix visited Avery Fields. With two recent victories against sides around the same league position helping the climb, a victory over the Phoenix would increase that gap further.
What unfolded was the most dramatic finish to a game I can remember that also contained some un-usual events.
Bourns were forced into some changes. Tex Sigley returned to the starting tight head position. Harry Hudson moved to number 8 and Angus Low came in at 7. A tactical change was made at half back with Mitch McGahan starting at 9 to help manage Rhys Harry's busy playing schedule as he took a bench place, John Hargreaves moved to first receiver which allowed the returning Mark Coulson to play 12 after injury, Young Lewis Webb was afforded more game time on the right wing. On the bench, young Scott Rudge covered front row and Tom Holliday made up the final bench place.
The game was only a couple of minutes old when Bourns opened the scoring. Bourns had an attacking line out on the 22. The Donny number 2 jumper wildly slapped the ball down. Harry Hudson reacted the quickest and sprinted in to the corner. Doncaster do not kick the ball that often and they always looked dangerous when the ball was moved wide. Bourns defence was up to the challenge and kept them out. On 22 minutes, hooker James Weaver received a yellow card. The tackle was slightly late, but technically correct and nowhere near the head. Penalty yes, but not sure a yellow was warranted. Bourns had to use a front row replacement which meant Lewis Webb on the wing had to be sacrificed. The Donny backs exploited that space and scored three decent tries to take a 21-5 lead. It could have been worse as more assured handling should have seen two further scores, but with James back on, that stopped the away scoring and James scored himself from close range as the forwards were rewarded for some pressure on the Donny line. Mitch added the extras so 12-21 which became the half time score.
The start of the second period saw Donny have some ascendancy and they were camped in the Bourns 22 for some time, but the home defence was robust and the line was kept intact. The rain began to fall which made handling difficult and both sides lost continuity losing the ball forward. On 67 minutes, Paul Sumner chased a kick ahead as the ball crossed the try line. The ball bounced in the right direction for Sumner and him along with many others felt he got the touchdown, but from the official's view, he ruled otherwise. From the drop out, a Donny player picked the ball up in front and Rhys Harrhy, now on the pitch slotted it to make it 15-21. There was then an injury to a Donny forward which stopped the game for some time and we all wish him a speedy recovery. The players rushed for shelter against the driving rain as the balcony overlooking the pitch bulged with supporters gathering for the closing embers of the game.
With at least 15 minutes of injury time to play, Bourns were giving it a real go and were piling on the pressure in the scrum and in open play. The comeback had to start now, however, Bourns were turned over deep in the Donny 22 and there was space on the short side. The centre pinned his ears back. With our touch judge Steve Franklin breaking into a trot to keep up, he was blindsided straight in the face by one of the coaching staff of Donny who was rather excited at the prospect of a Donny try. With Steve floundering on the floor clutching his face, Henry Hughes had raced across the pitch and made a fantastic try saving tackle taking the Donny player's legs into touch line before he let the ball go in play. With Bourns players screaming at the referee who continued with play, the ball was quickly moved to the opposite wing for the right winger to make it 26-15 and secure a try bonus point.
Many thought that was it, but there was time. Bourns quickly got into the opposition 22 thought they had scored but the try was chalked off for crossing and blocking a defender. Bourns came again and having sucked in defenders, a miss pass created a 2 on 1 and winger Lewis Webb dived in the corner. Rhys kicked the touch line conversion making it 22-26 to Donny. Still time for the kick off as the game entered 15 minutes of overtime. Bourns fielded the kick just in front of the corner flag on the 5-meter line. Bourns then went 17 phases to the half way line, where Donny failed to release the tackled player. The penalty was central, but Rhys put a fantastic punt in to leave Bourns 10 metres away. The wind was blowing a gale and the rain was lashing down. Bourns chose a sensible 2 ball and immediately drove in field to avoid the touch line. The maul was beginning to move forward and cheered on by the home support. the backs joined in and the miracle had happened as flanker Jonjo Fanning touched down. Some fisticuffs resulted with the Donny number 8 being shown a red card, then Rhys kicked the extras and the comeback was complete with understandable excitement all around. What a finish! Just like the All Blacks against Ireland. The try also secured the try bonus which results in Bourns moving to 7th in the table on 41 points, 7 points ahead of the third relegation place currently occupied by Derby in 12th position. Job not complete, but the boys have a chance with 8 games to go.
Bourns have played far better this season and lost, but the win was the requirement and to produce that finish in those circumstances was outstanding. Star player must be the whole side for staging that final few minutes.
Mission 3 of 4 complete. Next up after a week off, it’s Lichfield away under lights on Friday 8th February kicking off at 7.45. Not far to travel, so please come and support the guys who are providing high quality entertainment. Lichfield are a quality team, who will run the ball. Again, this game will not be a boring 9-6.
Team: 15, Paul Sumner, 14, Lewis Webb, 13, Henry Hughes, 12, Mark Coulson, 11, Lewis Webb, 10, John Hargreaves, 9, Mitch McGahan, 8, Harry Hudson, 7, Angus Low, 6, Jonjo Fanning, 5, Steve Handy (capt), 4, Rich Corr, 3, Terry Sigley, 2, James Weaver, 1, James Burgoyne, 16, Scott Rudge, 17, Tom Holliday, 18, Rhys Harrhy.
My View From The Side
'Bournville - becoming masters of winning with the last-gasp effort' - I'll include my initial headline here - awaiting Mikes change.
My first major trip outside since being sidelined by a nasty virus or something before Christmas and the weather turned crap.
Getting a good action photo is all about being in the right place at the right time. I had waited by Doncaster's tryline for the first 5 minutes but decided to move away and take an up close shot of the throw-in awarded 15 metres out. All I caught was the back view of our first try being run in. Lesson to self - be more patient.
I must be honest when the rain started throwing it down in the 2nd half, I took one look at the scoreboard and was prepared to call it a day. Not just because the 3pm kick off time causes me all sorts of problems with the light, but I was also running out of energy. Then I remembered Mike's report of the Derby match - 'Last gasp victory....' It couldn't happen again - could it?. Thankfully I stayed to find out.
Not wanting to be left clutching a rusting blob of metal, my camera made few outings in the 2nd half. But I did take some slightly blurred photos of a certain try scored in the last minute. Normally I wouldn't use them, but I took so few anyway I decided to.
Maybe people will only remember the last few minutes of the game because of the try, but what they shouldn't forget is the great rugby played and heart shown by all of the Bournville team up to that moment.
At last something other than Brexit to talk about. A genuine, 'I was there' moment.
If you've read this far (thanks!) then please click HERE for a depressingly small number of photos from the match
One single man of the match Mike? Best of luck :)
Sully Bournville's always friendly (and free) photographer