By Richard Smith
Despite neither side having any promotion ambitions or relegation concerns, a good crowd at Portway was treated to a highly entertaining game on Easter Saturday as Harrogate got the better of the Bees for the second time this season.
Birmingham & Solihull were 12-0 to the good after 20 minutes thanks to tries by Jonah Boyce and Rob Connolly, Jack Jolly adding a conversion, but Harrogate responded with two of their own from hooker Aurin Yorke and scrum half Phil Wykeham, both converted by fly-half Callum Irvine to give the visitors a 14-12 lead.
The Bees restored their lead after 33 minutes with the now obligatory try by lock Chris Goddard but it was Harrogate who finished the half the stronger to lead 21-17 at the break after centre Luke Edwards went over.
With the second half came a change in referee, as Andrew Taylorson was replaced after pulling a muscle in the first half.
Jolly was sin-binned 15 minutes after the interval for killing the ball on the Bee’s try line and the visitors took advantage with winger Audley-Beck scoring under the posts to give them a 28-17 lead.
Bees responded with a well-taken try by the tireless Michael Stephens with Adam Canning, who had now taken over the kicking duties, slotted a tricky conversion to narrow the gap to 28-24 with 10 minutes to go.
But again it was the visitors who finished the half stronger, sealing what was, on balance, a deserved victory with a second try by Luke Edwards on the final whistle.