Bromsgrove v Bridgnorth Saturday 5th October – Result 23 – 26
Bridgnorth travelled to old foes Bromsgrove with injury and unavailability in their front row forcing Captain Calum Madden to play out of position at loose head prop with young Ben Prior travelling back from Sheffield University to cover on the bench. With Bromsgrove holding a Vice Presidents day and several supporters making the short journey over from Bridgnorth a good crowd was in attendance on a fine day for running rugby.
Bridgnorth retained possession from the kick off and following several phases of play and neat footwork from Mike Penn the ball was moved to Connor Nicholls who fed Jordan Burgess to score an unconverted try in the corner. On seven minutes Bridgnorth were awarded a penalty for a high tackle and opted to kick for the corner. A clever line out move saw hooker Luis Evitt go over for the score, the conversion going wide for a ten to nil lead. Bromsgove then won a penalty at a scrum and also opted to kick for the corner, a catch and drive over by their forwards and conversion making the score 7 – 10 after 17 minutes. With both sides playing expansive rugby it was then Bridgnorth’s turn to score again, centre Ted Parker crashing over for the score following a strong run from prop George Newman, with Williams yet to find his range from the kicking tee a third try for Bridgnorth went unconverted. It looked as if Luis Evitt had secured the bonus point win for his side but to the amazement of all watching the referee adjudged that there had been a knock on in the process of grounding the ball. Just before the break Bromsgrove kicked a penalty to make the half time score 10 – 15 in Bridgnorth’s favour which flattered the hosts somewhat following a half largely dominated by Bridgnorth
The second half proved to be a close battle with both defences prominent. On 55 minutes Bromsgrove landed a penalty but this was cancelled out soon after by Llew Williams to make the score 13 – 18 in favour of Bridgnorth with just 20 minutes remaining. Bridgnorth introduced their bench into the match with Gareth Bladen, Ben Prior and Charley Wright coming on, the latter playing his first game of the season following a lengthy period out through injury. Another Bromsgrove penalty brought the scores closer at 16 – 18 but on 73 minutes Marley Finn secured the bonus point for Bridgnorth with an unconverted try in the corner and it looked like Bridgnorth would be leaving with 5 points. But Bromsgrove had other ideas and in injury time scored a try in the corner, a superb conversion from the touch line brought the scores level at 23 – 23 and it looked like the spoils would be shared. Deep into injury time with play inside the Bromsgrove half the referee awarded Bridgnorth a penalty, Llew Williams stepped up to slot home the kick for a 3 point lead. There was time for Bromsgrove to restart but good defence by Loti Molitika forced a knock on and the referee finally blew the whistle to end a fantastic, end to end game of rugby which finished 23 – 26.
Bridgnorth skipper Calum Madden will be pleased with this win and his own personal performance, playing out of position against strong opposition he ran well with ball in hand and put in some big defensive hits. The back row of Nicholls, Molitika and Bradbury were outstanding, ably assisted by the mobile second row of Goulson and Rochelle. The return of Charley Wright is an additional bonus and hopefully next week for the visit of Burton on Trent Bridgnorth will have selection headaches of a different kind with virtually a full squad being available. Burton include in their line up this year Marcelo Bosch the ex-Argentinian international and Saracens player.