NOT THE BEST DAY AT THE OFFICE
By Mick Palmer
NEWPORT SALOP 31 BOURNVILLE 10
Week 20 of the Midlands Premier League, saw Bourns visit promotion chasing Newport Salop, a fixture always full of commitment and passion from both sides.
Bourns were once again required to shuffle the cards due to unavailability in the main, but the squad was bolstered by returning players from injury. The pack remained unchanged. In the backs, centre Mark Coulson came back in at outside centre. Jordy Hopp returned to the wing and fellow winger Ethan Walker returned at the expense of injured Lewis Webb. Bourns went with three forwards on the bench once again with the only change being Ejike Uzoigwe claiming a seat.
To the game then. The rain just about held off, but the wind was a factor blowing straight down the sloping pitch. Newport had first use of it and had by far the better of the early exchanges using their huge 5 and 6 to truck up in midfield then kick for territory. Bourns held their line well but penalty offences at the breakdown were conceding possession leaving Bourns to defend several 5 meter line outs. After 10 minutes, the home side drove a line out. A penalty try was awarded and flanker Angus Low was deemed the culprit and took a yellow. During the absence, Newport constructed two good tries to be fair, being clinical in execution, so with the first quarter over Bourns had a deficit of 21 points to ponder. If Newport bossed the first 20 minutes, then it was certainly Bourns who won the honours in terms of possession and territory in the second 20. The Newport scrum was creaking and opportunities were being created, but unlike their opponents, too many passes went astray and the usual accurate passing amongst the backs was not there. Bourns were adamant they had touched down when the ball squirted out a ruck over the Newport line, but were only awarded a 5 metre scrum. Passes continued to miss their target and Bourns were unable to turn their possession into points so turned around 0-21.
The wind was still blowing strong and for the first 15 minutes all went well as Bourns played territory and forced Newport to defend deep. A couple of kickable penalties were turned down and Bourns were rewarded when full back Paul Sumner saw no one home at a ruck and won a 20 metre sprint to score converted by Rhys Harrhy. A scrum penalty made it 10-21 and Bourns were in the hunt. However, Bourns seemed to go off piste with the game plan playing rugby in between their 22 and half way instead of sending the ball down field with the wind. Newport got a couple of turnovers and used their heavy forwards to make in roads. On 70 minutes, the Newport try came from a neat off load making it 28-10. More pressure yielded another penalty and the game was over at 31-10.
An off day for the boys today, but with 5 games left, there is still plenty to do, so let's park it and plan for the visit of Nuneaton who are once place and 5 points ahead in the table.
Star man was tight head Sam Roe, who earned his keep in the scrum and by my reckoning made the most of many tackles in the game.
Team: 15, Paul Sumner, 14, Jordy Hopp, 13, John Hargreaves, 12, Mark Coulson, 11, Ethan Walker, 10, Mitch McGahan, 9, Rhys Harrhy, 8, Jonjo Fanning, 7, Angus Low, 6, Harry Hudson, 5, Rich Corr, 4, Steve Handy (capt), 3, Sam Roe, 2, Matt Price, 1, James Burgoyne, 16, Terry Sigley, 17, Matt McKeown, 18, Ejike Uzoigwe.