Round 4 of the Midlands Premier league program saw local rivals Bromsgrove visit Averyfields for the first time in a league and cup double header. The day also saw many vice presidents visit the ground for a pre-match gathering and twenty plus mini and junior players who acted as mascots and ball boy/girl duties who provided a splendid showcase of their developing rugby talents at half time.
Bourns once again had to shuffle the cards with injuries not quite recovering in time. In the back row, both Umraan Jadwat and Matt Mckeown required more time for their knocks, so Ash Scriven moved to number 8 and Harry Hudson made a return to first team duties at blind side with Angus Low returning to 7. Tom Burrows started at right wing and Matt Dight made his debut at 13 on loan from Birmingham Moseley. The bench consisted of James Weaver, Sam Herrington and Paul Sumner.
This fixture always has an edge and this latest instalment continued that trend particularly in the second half. There was a strong wind blowing straight down the pitch from the club house end and Bromsgrove had first use of it. The first 10 minutes saw both sides arm wrestle each other until a moment of opportunism by scrum half Ben Tibbetts opened the scoring. The visitors transgressed at the breakdown on half way and a quick tap by Ben saw him run into a gap and beat the cover tackle to sprint in which was well converted by Mitch McGahan for a 7-0 lead. The score doubled in favour of the home side as Mitch saw a gap in midfield after good phase play by the forwards. A penalty advantage was being played and Mitch executed an extravagant reverse offload to full back Owen Williams who cut a great line to the posts. 14-0.
The grove finally tried to use the wind to peg back the home side, but suddenly, Bourns conceded a flurry of penalties in non-threatening positions which added to the territory stats. An offside in midfield reduced the arrears by three which was quickly followed by a forwards driving try after a succession of close drives at the line making it 14-10 after 31 minutes. Before the restart there was a stern lecture by the referee for some off the ball silliness. Both hookers didn't heed the advice as they were yellow carded for a 10 minute cool off. Bourns reacted best and after several attacks which stretched the away defence across the pitch, Mitch found flanker Harry Hudson in support for a score in the corner just before half time making it 19-10.
The second half some what de-generated with only two real pieces of positive rugby to report on. Bourns pinned the grove in their 22 using the wind for the first 10 minutes of the half and a series of drives released centre Matt Dight to cross the line from close range 26-10. The wind was quite strong now, so it forced the away side to be more expansive using the hands far more. To be fair Bourns didn't see much of the ball for the rest of the game as Bromsgrove searched for a gap to exploit with good ball retention skills, but lacked penetration. However the "niggle" was in and several off the ball incidents meant the referee was policing the players and not the game. Grove had a close range penalty on 60 minutes and only got close to the Bourns try line once pegged back by the solid home defence and a rising home penalty count conceding possession. With 10 minutes to go another scuffle saw prop Kurt Payne see yellow and the negative undertone continued until the final whistle. Both sets of forwards didn't help giving the official a difficult afternoon which in my view he coped well.
Still a bonus point win winning "ugly", a cup semi-final to look forward to, no fresh injuries and Bourns sit top of the league on points difference with the only other un-defeated team in the league, Newport Salop. Star man was our player head coach Mitch McGahan who featured in three of the four tries and whose all round performance gets the nod.
Next week sees a tricky away contest at Burton, a ground we have had scant success at in recent times. Is that about to change?
Team: 15, Owen Williams, 14, Tom Burrows, 13, Matt Dight, 12, Mark Coulson, 11, Ethan Walker, 10, Mitch McGahan, 9, Ben Tibbetts, 8, Ash Scriven, 7, Angus Low, 6, Harry Hudson, 5, Tom Holliday, 4, Steve Handy (capt), 3, Kurtis Payne, 2, Zane Raimondi, 1, James Burgoyne, 16, James Weaver, 17, Sam Herrington, 18, Paul Sumner.
My view from the side
Why do they put instruction manuals with anything. Of all the things I have bought I don't think I have read one. Mores the pity. I am still struggling with the new camera, but the manual remains in the box. I will get there eventually.
The weather was kind to us on Saturday, the rain stayed away, the sun came out and the wind picked up nicely for the 2nd half.
Photos. A fair selection can be found HERE.
Sully - Bournville's always friendly (and free) amateur photographer