Bees 38 Barking 3
BEES took another major step towards National League One safety with this comprehensive bonus point demolition of bottom side Barking.
It was built on the foundations of a strong performance upfront, for the second week running director of rugby Russell Earnshaw acclaiming his front five as ‘outstanding’ as they smashed the visitors’ pack.
There was promise in the backs too, converted flanker Rob Connolly at centre deservedly winning the man of the match award while Mark Woodrow, first at fly half then at scrum half, pulling the strings.
“You’ve got to hand it to those young guys,” said Earnshaw. “We said before the match that we’d stick to the game plan and take them on and from the front row to the second row they were outstanding.”
The groundwork was laid in a dour first half which saw Bees grind down their visitors, a charging run by the excellent lock Dave Markham setting up skipper Jack Preece who came up with the ball after a maul was driven over the line. Woodrow converted.
As Bees turned the screw Barking’s unfortunate winger Joe Hardy was yellow carded on 29 minutes as the visitors were punished for repeated infringements.
A penalty try, converted by Woodrow, quickly followed and the Solihull side went in 14-3 up at half time.
Up till now the match had been far from pretty and littered with handling errors but both sides re-started determined to give the ball some air. Bees were the first to profit, the pack again laying the foundations before winger John Lowden went over in the corner.
A step change on the hour mark then occurred when fly half Dan Hawkes came on for No 9 Jack Jolly, Woodrow moving to scrum half.
A minute later and with only his second touch of the ball Hawkes was touching it down for the bonus point try. Woodrow, adding spice to the hotly contested outside half berth, converted from wide out.
Hawkes was at it again minutes later, his break setting up Lowden for his second try, Woodrow again converting from out wide.
Sam Farmer, on for Earnshaw, then rounded off the scoring with a try in injury time to complete a fine afternoon for Bees.
Will Birmingham Solihull survive the drop though? Man of the Match Connolly certainly thinks they can: “It’s going to be a close call, but we’re staying positive and going out there and scoring as many points and winning as many games as we can.”
Bees will be looking to continue their winning run against Tynedale next Saturday, March 3, at Damson Park, Solihull.