Birmingham Solihull 21 Old Luctonians 22
FOR the second week running Bees suffered the trauma of a match lost with the last kick of the game.
Last Saturday it was Bromsgrove, this time round it was Luctonians, led by former Bees favourite Alex Davidson, who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a penalty kick in the 51st minute of a fractious second half.
Bees’ stunned director of rugby Eugene Martin needed some moments to compose himself before pinpointing the nub of the issue.
“Our young guys in the backs let down our more experienced guys,” he said.
“Our forwards were magnificent and they shouldn’t have to come off the field with a loss like that after all the effort they put in.
“Our backs need to get rid of the young and inexperienced tag, at some point they need to step up and put their bodies on the line.Yes it takes bravery, but that is what they have to do.”
To be fair to Bees the Luctonians back division looked dangerous whenever they had the ball; their passing was crisp, running was direct and support was always at their shoulder.
Having said the home three quarters didn’t help themselves; they were slow coming up in defence, bounced off too many tackles and the unfortunate dog leg they developed handed Luctonians winger Drew Cheshire a hat-trick of tries.
In attack too often they took the ball stationary and frequently, when presented with the opportunity to run, they dithered.
Yet it had all started so well. Luctonians didn’t see the ball for the first ten minutes by which time scrum half Jack Jolly had kicked Bees into a 9-0 lead.
However danger lurked in the visitors’ three quarters and on the half hour from a line out on half way the ball found its way to Cheshire who swept through without anyone laying a finger on him. The conversion though, was missed.
Back came Bees, the forwards driving over for an unconverted try on 35 minutes.
Two minutes later a yellow card for the Luctonians loose head brought a numerical advantage but that didn’t stop Cheshire scoring his second, this time with Geraint Langdon adding the extras to make it 14-12 at half time.
Bees clearly had the upperhand in the forwards and a growing niggle between the two packs saw the referee flourish two yellow cards against the visitors.
The first to Davidson to ironic cheers on 55 minutes, the second quickly leading to a penalty try on 63 minutes for repeated infringements, the conversion by Jolly making it 21-12.
Home and dry? Not with Cheshire on the pitch. First Bees replacement Jonathan Ford suffered a dislocated shoulder and then Cheshire once again cut through the Bees line to score a fine try, converted by Langdon, on 75 minutes.
Bees were still in the lead and still in control as the clock wound down, the touch judge telling their coaching staff they were on the last play of the game.
However the referee allowed a Luctonians scrum and they drove the ball up field, keeping possession for seven solid minutes before Bees were caught offside and Langdon made no mistake from the penalty.