‘Street looked to pack enough second half attacking punch to pull off the win, but careless moments left them pointless in their away trip to Bournville RFC.
‘Street’s up and down form continued at the Munrow Sports Centre, Birmingham University in Bournbrook with a below par performance which belies their true capabilities and exposes the lack of preparation resulting from too many changes to their line-up, week-in week-out, writes Bob Harcourt.
Broadstreet kicked into a stiff wind and made an early assault but mistakes saw Bournville into the visitor’s half to take the first three points via the boot of Alex Warner. 3 – 0. Ten minutes later the process was repeated but this time Bournville pack drove over from a 5 metre penalty lineout. Warner was unable to slot the wide conversion. 8 – 0. Play see-sawed in midfield for the next 17 minutes before Warner bagged a second penalty for the home side to increase their lead to 11 – 0. Danny Richards had a chance to pull three back two minutes later but his attempt sailed wide. Bournville had good deal of possession and territory now and only stout defence was denying further scoring until Danny Richards attempted clearance kick, close to his goal line, was charged down and the ball fell in goal where it only had to be dropped on it for the easiest of touch downs. Warner failed again from wide. 16 – 0. Bournville ended the half camped on the visitor’s line but continued resolute ‘Street defence prevented further damage. Half Time: 16 – 0.
Bournville kicked off and regained possession to pin ‘Street deep in defence and from a penalty lineout 5 metres out once again utilised their efficient forward drive to register another corner try which went unconverted. 21 – 0. On restarting ‘Street, now having the stiff breeze at their backs, were able to use kicking to repel their hosts and set up attacking positions and it took just two minutes to put their first points on the board when flanker Chris Zutic cut through the defence untouched after a number of phases involving backs and forwards. The usually accurate Danny Richards hit the upright with a reasonably straightforward conversion attempt. 21 – 5. Broadstreet increased the tempo and dominated possession and territory over the next 15 minutes, which is what it took to register a second try through a forwards drive after Bournville had themselves shown spirited defence. Richards was unable to convert from wide out. 21 – 10. Into the final quarter Bournville were gifted a five metre attacking penalty lineout after a ‘Street forward had blatantly jumped the gun at a ruck, but a great steal by Number eight Chris Wood allowed ‘Street to clear up field from where the visitors advanced to the home 22 to lay siege. Bournville heroically defended for 5 or 6 minutes until another forward sortie saw hooker Paul Wilkes go over for ‘Street with ten minutes remaining. Richards again failed to convert. 21 – 15. ‘Street continued to press for the winner but from seemingly innocuous midfield play a Bournville midfield player slipped a tackle and sprinted for the line where, although tackled short by ‘Street captain Nick Thatcher, he was able to reach out and ground the ball for a soul destroying, game winning try. Warner sliced his kick. 26 – 15. With three minutes remaining ‘Street fought back up field and inside the Bournville half scrum half Andy Murray dashed past the struggling Bournville defence with no one to beat in the run-in. However, bonus points were not to be as a despairing tap tackle tripped Murray, who took several paces before falling, allowing defenders to scramble back and save the day, leaving ‘Street to ponder why their play was so uncharacteristically careless in the first half and how a much improved, dominant second half, failed to produce the points. Final Score: 26 – 15.
Team: Murray, Brittain, Johns, Thatcher, Preece, Richards, Mc Feeley, Dawes, Wilkes, Tatlow, Tucker, Hannah, Dodd, Wood, Zutic, Reps: Warrilow, Pendleton, Tee.
The use of 43 players in 17 league matches does not allow for a great deal of consistency in ‘Street’s game but this has not prevented some admirable performances this season. There appears to be something more fundamental affecting our consistency, which needs to be addressed before the team is to realise its true potential.