B’ham Solihull 18 Bromsgrove 18
COACH Henno Ventnor said he was happy with the two points from this draw, as well he might considering Bees had contrived to turn a nine point lead and a dominant scrum into two yellow cards and a desperate battle to avoid defeat – which they nearly lost.
Bees owed all their points to the unerring boot of scrum half Jack Jolly, his last penalty in the dying moments of the game after they’d been under the cosh for the bulk of the second half.
“Overall I’m very happy – it could have been a lot worse,” said a relieved Ventor, “and we’ll take the points.
“We were playing in a mud bath and we had a number of lapses, made a number of mistakes, so yes, I’m really proud of the boys and happy with the draw, far better than a loss at home.”
In an error-strewn match the mistakes started right from kick off, the Bees’ effort not travelling the required 10 metres.
The home side survived early pressure and then had a promising attack halted by a bout of fisticuffs in midfield that brought a penalty to the visitors.
However the Bees pack were in control, loose head Matt Long wreaking havoc in the visitors’ scrum, and their dominance quickly paid dividends with three successful penalties from Jolly.
From the re-start though they handed the initiative back to Bromsgrove, the ball being caught and booted straight into touch. From the line out the visitors attacked and on 24 minutes winger Charlie Jones scored in the corner, fly half Bar Bartlett converting.
Bees looked like a side that had lost its way and on 37 minutes a Bartlett penalty in front of the posts gave Bromsgrove the lead.
However Bromsgrove were caught napping at the restart and Jolly’s fourth put Bees back in front for half time.
Any thoughts that B&S would now pull away were quickly dispelled as the second half got underway, when, instead of simply putting boot to ball, Bees tried a near suicidal attempt to run out of the bog that was their own 22.
The results were fairly predictable – as Bromsgrove pressed Long was yellow carded on 48 minutes for pulling a driving maul down and they were fortunate that Bartlett hooked his pot at goal.
Eight minutes later hooker Will Radburn was the next to go for handling on the ground and this time Bromsgrove made no mistake, the forwards crossing after an intense battering of the Bees line. Crucially though Bartlett was off-target with the conversion.
B’ham Solihull were now on the rack – they hadn’t been in the Bromsgrove half for 30 minutes – and Bartlett made no mistake from a penalty in front of the posts to put them 12-18 ahead on 64 minutes.
Bees looked down and out, but Bromsgrove offered them a way back with a penalty in front of the posts after being penalised for crossing, Jolly converting.
The home side suddenly sniffed salvation and after several thrusts down the wings No8 Rob Connolly was just pushed into touch inches from the line in the far corner.
Bromsgrove managed to clear their lines only to infringe again and present Jolly with a final chance at goal, which he duly took to square the match.