Broadstreet Rugby Football Club signed off their pre-season preparations with a totally unexpected runaway victory against Oxford Harlequins RFC of National League Three South West; following up on a joint Coventry/Broadstreet 33 – 24 winning encounter last Thursday evening at the Butts Park Arena against Dudley Kingswinford RFC of National League Three Midlands writes Bob Harcourt.
A host of tries at the Ivor Preece Field Rugby Ground against two from the Oxford - based opponents; performing in the equivalent league to where ‘Street played last season and where Dudley are the equivalent now, left the question of readiness for National League Two North very much unanswered. Were ‘Street that good or was the opposition way below strength? Now, only a trip to last season’s high-flyers Sedgley Park RFC will provide a clear answer!
Ben Cooper showing his classy kicking prowess with conversions from all angles, ensured that the score ticked on. However, not so the first quarter; after a 6th minute penalty try had started proceedings - when the visitors collapsed a 5 metre scrum, it was not until the end of that first quarter that a second 7 pointer was added by the hosts, as Harlequins bossed possession and territory for a lengthy period of the opening ‘stanza’, giving credence to the belief that this was to be a close encounter. But then the indomitable Nick Thatcher who had a tremendous game throughout, scythed through - out of defence - to set up a 60 metre try, finished by supporting inside centre Dan Hope.Four tries in the next 15 minutes put paid to the close encounter belief as full back Will Owen bagged two and fly half Ben Cooper and prop Jake Dodd taking the others. Despite ‘Quins pulling back a well taken try at the close of first half play, the omens did not look good for the visitors as ‘Street’s pace and dominance grew throughout the second quarter.Play throughout by both sides delighted a goodly crowd; most scores coming from excellent passages of play involving pace and near perfect handling skills throughout and, for ‘Street, fly half
So it continued on resumption of play. Locks, Nick Murphy (41 minutes) and Aaron Crofts (45 minutes) helped themselves, before ‘Quins registered their second score after 12 minutes of resumed play. Prop Rob Dugard (55) timed his run perfectly to take a scoring pass off dancing winger Jeff Gregson. Tearaway Aaron Crofts (59) scored his second, sprinting in at great pace from 22 metres and then he repeated the gallop 4 minutes later. Thatcher topped off a cracking performance with a try of his own before late replacement centre Jose Monteiro bustled over for his share and, to close matters, Captain Chris Wood got his just reward for his usual industrious performance from Number eight, having received a timed pass from a scrum break by, yes! – Man-of-the Match Nick Thatcher.
There were excellent performances all round, it has to be said, from the 23 players in providing some skilled and entertaining moments, but, given the final result, only the foolhardy would draw significant conclusion from this match in gauging ‘Street’s future in National Two North.
Squad: Pendleton, Foreman, Tatlow, Dodd, Dugard, Pearl, Worthington, Tucker, Solomon M, Crofts, Murphy, Beddows, Zutic, Wood (Captain), Thatcher, Cooper, Hope, Tilsley, Owen, Murray, Monteiro, Gregson, Harris Tommy.
Not Used: Dawes, Carney, Harrop, Martin, Solomon A, Howland, Walsh, Simpson, Nuttall, et al.