With Simon Morris still suffering after a short stay in hospital with illness and Damian Taylor unavailable through injury, Stewart Hendry was called up to make his first full debut for the 1st XV and second row Nick Pratt filled in once again at 8. Brett Chatwin was called in to start ahead of Matty Fielder, but both he and Stewart Hendry were almost pulled before the match as they were both struggling with their own bouts of poor health.
This however, was no excuse for the shambolic start that Broadstreet produced against a side, we can presume, will be one of the main contenders for promotion. Bromsgrove’s 1st try barely gave the spectators time to make it pitchside from the bar as they began to play rugby when blindside flanker Burrows collected the ball from the kick-off deep in his own half, ran straight at the oncoming Broadstreet pack and with little difficulty sprinted right on through for a clean race to the line. The Broadstreet backs chased him down but after quick turnover ball, and with most the Broadstreet team still scratching their heads in opposition territory, Bromsgrove’s Toby Wilson waltzed through an attempted tackle in the midfield and nipped over for a try 30 seconds into the game. Conversion by fly-half Ben Copson 7-0
Bromsgrove’s next wave of attack from the restart brought them back up to the ‘Street line and subsequent infringements allowed Copson to extend the lead with a penalty. The next Broadstreet restart was kicked out on the full and Bromsgrove once again turned an unpromising position into points, hard running pacy backs coasting round the outside of a ‘Street defence that looked like they would rather be anywhere but Finstall road. Adie Hales added to his already impressive early season try tally touching down for Bromsgroves 2nd try after 6 minutes. 15-0
He added his 2nd try of the game and 7th of the season to bury Broadstreet before the game had reached the 15 minute mark, the conversion took Bromsgrove to 22-0 and a points total that ‘Street would never even reach. However, despite the game being lost already it seemed that all it took were a few off the ball ‘incidents’ to get the ‘Street pack to man up and take the game to the home side. Captain Nick Thatcher was the victim of a high shot which split his eye and hooker Carl Southwell took a passing knee to the face, both incidents forced the players off the pitch to be stitched up quickly and probably would have warranted a straight red had the Referee seen them. Cam Pimlow took 3 points once the ‘Street forwards had finally decided to play rugby, start grafting and earned the visitors some decent field position. 22-3
Bromsgrove extended the lead with a 4-try-bonus point after just 25 minutes when Num 8 Drew Harper squeezed over in the corner after picking up from the base of a ruck. Winger Tom Stokes replied with a try in the corner, after 2nd row Sam Went had powered through a few tackles off a ruck, quick distribution from Pimlow and Simpson created enough space for the fly-half convert to bag his 4th try. Unfortunately Pimlow’s good effort from the touchline drifted the wrong side of the posts, however he made amends by bagging a penalty shortly after caused by persistent infringing from try scorer Drew Harper which earnt him a sin-binning. 27-11
Debutant Stew Hendry kicked off the half with a try, holding up a player in a tackle he then burst out the other side of the maul full of Bromsgrove players. Like Any Given Sunday’s “Steamin Willy Beamin” he sprinted 40 metres to score, unfortunately just like in the movie he also proceeded to vomit on the pitch and he had to be withdrawn from the game through illness. Brett Chatwin also struggling was retired shortly after as well. Cam Pimlow slotted the conversion and a penalty to reduce the gap to 6 points and Broadstreet gained the momentum. 27-21
Unfortunately just as ‘Street seemed to be clawing their way back they conceded once more, Bromsgrove’s backs were mismatched against ‘Street forwards, they dissected the defensive line and offloaded to the on-coming fullback Critchlow who touched down. Flyhalf Copson scored the conversion on 50 minutes. The next 20 minutes was an accumulation of Broadstreet pressure which had them camped down in the corners of the Bromsgrove half. A series of Catch’n’drives from lineouts failed to bear any fruit but a number of infringements by the Bromsgrove defence earned 8 Harper a second yellow card and a sending off. The ‘Street decision to go for the corner instead of a scrum against the weaker and now reduced pack was potentially a fatal move and when the drive was deemed to be ‘truck and trailer’ by the referee, the game was lost. 34-21
James Lloyd Jones scored in the last minute to turn the loss into a 20 point thrashing and once more highlighted Broadstreet’s defensive frailties 39-21.
Removing the first 14 minutes of the match, the game was fairly even but unfortunately when the final whistle blew those 14 minutes still counted and the Broadstreet defence was as responsible for the loss as Bromsgrove’s dangerous attacks. It must be said that even the best teams have a bad day at the office and Broadstreet will struggle to play that poorly again this season. After losing 18 players who featured in last season’s National 2 campaign a thumping was bound to pop up and we are fortunate that it happened so early and we can address the issues that have arisen. There are fresh and returning players yet to feature which should put us there or there abouts come the end of the season.
Bromsgrove blindside Nigel Burrows had a stormer (Carl Southwell’s wife may not agree after he rearranged a section of the hooker’s face with a malicious knee)