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Stellar Bees humble Sheffield Tigers

B’ham Solihull 19 Sheffield Tigers 0

Bham Solihull 19 Sheffield Tigers 0

BEES turned in the performance of the season to bring their highflying Yorkshire opponents down to earth with a bump at Portway on Saturday.

Four penalty kicks by scrum half Jack Jolly, a try from evergreen prop Matt Long and a conversion from fly half Lee Chapman were the bare bone statistics but beneath the scoreline is a tale of a team that after months of work finally clicked.

And as the scoreline suggests, the Bees try line not only stayed intact, but Tigers, fielding a huge side, didnt register a single point.

There were good reasons for this - Bees kept the penalty count down, restricting Sheffield to just one shot at goal, which they missed. Secondly, the home side tackled liked demons, crunching down the opposition, winning turnover ball and pressurising them into mistakes.

Forwards coach Henno Ventnor, who named himself on the subs bench and came on in the second half, sang the praises of his young team.

"It comes from hard work, week in, week out, and its paid off today," said the delighted South African.

"We worked really hard on defence and on the set-piece because that's where it all begins, that and the belief we have in ourselves.

"We wanted to go out and impose ourselves right from the start, and we achieved it."

Losing their first line out was the only blip in a stellar performance by a pack which scrummaged superbly, driving back much bigger opponents in both the tight and the loose, the front row of Long, Ben Spokes and Mike Hill even nicking one against the head.

Against that sort of play Tigers started to infringe and Jolly landed his first kick on 15 minutes from wide out on the left hand side, despite a bitingly cold crosswind.

With Bees tackling in twos and threes the visitors just couldn't get any momentum going and Jolly made it six on 27 minutes after Tigers collapsed a scrum.

Back they came though, a penalty was kicked to touch and Bees were on their own goal line. But they defended like lions, driving the visitors into touch, winning the ensuing line out and kicking clear.

B&S finished the half on the attack, calling for scrum after scrum as they pinned Tigers back on their on goal line, eventually opting for another three pointer as the visitors infringed again.

In past matches this young Bees side has tended to struggle in the second half, not so this time.

The scrum stayed a potent weapon and Jolly duly added a fourth penalty and it wasn't long before the referee was reaching for yellow as Tigers replacement prop Ross Anthony got his marching orders for not rolling away.

To add to their woes upfront on came Ventnor and hooker Will Radburn as replacements for Bees - and their line duly cracked on 67 minutes as Long, sporting a bloodied headband, crashed over from short range for a converted try.

Tigers proceeded to give the ball plenty of air but once again the home side's line held, although full back Jimmy Oliver collected a yellow card in the process on 80 minutes.

The referee added nearly 10 minutes of extra time but Bees held firm to go on and record a very famous victory indeed.

Fans will be hoping this is a sign of great things to come.

 

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