Depleted Bees drew praise from director of rugby Eugene Martin despite being beaten by high-flying Hull Ionians.
Injuries had deprived Bees of their recognised front row which left Martin working overtime to try and fill the breach. He claimed: “I really proud of the players because we lost two props last week, so it was every man to the pump. Jonah Boyce and Dan Bosworth had to come in, while Liam Dunne had to learn to prop, leaving me with just a week to work with them.
“I’m not complaining too much, because all clubs have to go through it at times.
“I knew we’d be up against it because Hull are a very good side, but we took the game to them and they were made to look very ordinary at times. I was very happy with the performance, but not necessarily the result!”
Despite all the enforced changes, Bees stuck to their task. Initial signs looked ominous when Ionians flanker Alex Torkington squeezed over for a try after just six minutes.
But Bees soon hit back, centre Steve Johns securing a try, Adam Canning converting. The lead changed hands throughout the first half as Canning and Ionians’ Isaac Green exchanged kicks. But it was Ionians who forged ahead with a trio of tries from No.8 Alex Campbell, flanker Laurence Cowen and lock Joe Makin, all three ofof which were converted by Green to give his side 29-13 up.
Bees refused to lie down and bagged another try with the last move of the match.
Replacement prop Dan Bosworth crowned a fabulous display with a bulldozing run, setting up Bees’ replacements Jack Linnett to race over.
Spirited stuff, but Bees slip to third from bottom.