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Bees back to full strength for Darlington clash

BEES travel to high flying Darlington Mowden Park on Saturday ready to start the second half of the season at full strength.

BEES travel to high flying Darlington Mowden Park on Saturday ready to start the second half of the season at full strength.

The Portway youngsters have had a baptism of fire in National League 2 North but can hold their heads up high as they sit three points clear of the relegation zone ahead of Westoe, Huddersfield and Stockport.

Director of Rugby Eugene Martin is full of praise for his young charges and top of his wishlist for 2013 is that his team continue to improve and learn from their mistakes.

“I want our players to become better rugby players and decision makers and be better than in 2012. It doesn’t come easily but we just have to keep working at it,” he said.

Birmingham Solihull are just at the start of a massive re-building process putting emphasis on their Minis and Juniors as much as the senior side so that the team can become self-sufficient in talent.

“We’ve had five or six Colts who have played for the seniors in 2012,” said Martin. “These are young men stepping up to senior level and they are doing okay, definitely okay.

“It does mean we are getting our experience while we are in the league which is not ideal but they are playing very well.”

Anyone who saw Bees play in 2012 will know that, from their first game against runaway league leader Stourbridge to their last one in December against Otley, they can match any team on the day. Only Old Luctonians have beaten them well and that was largely due to their better reading of atrocious weather conditions.

Where the team has suffered is in the second half where they have found it difficult to respond when the opposition steps up a gear or they suffer a setback.

Neither problem is a major issue and Martin will be looking to his on-field leaders to ensure the team’s form doesn’t dip in 2013.

Key to ensuring survival will be making sure points are won, especially at The Portway.

Bees travel to Darlington light on training, thanks to waterlogged pitches, but with morale high with the walking wounded happily healed over the festive break.

More good news comes with reports that deadly finishing full back Oscar Heath is making huge strides on the road to recovery after injury.

“Oscar is back running which is a huge plus for us,” said Martin.

“He was due to see the specialist on Thursday and although it’s unlikely he’ll play on Saturday it’s great just to have him back training with us again.”



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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