National League Two: Birmingham & Solihull 47 Westcombe Park 7
There’s never a dull moment watching the Bees these days – one minute they are ripping sides apart with their slick, expansive rugby and the next minute they are struggling to string passes together.
That was certainly the case against Westcombe Park, a side that arrived in the Midlands licking their wounds after shipping 55 points at home to Stourbridge seven days earlier.
The Bees started at a ferocious pace but still found themselves trailing to Niki Davies’ converted try on nine minutes.
Some dodgy handling and dropped passes followed and, just for a few minutes, it looked like being one of those days. But in Mark Woodrow, the Bees have a master magician who can conjure the best from those around him.
His tenacity earned him a try on 25 minutes and this spurred his teammates to run in two more before the break, full-back Reece Spee and hooker Ben Phillips going over. When Phillips was driven in for his second score early in the second half, the bonus point had been secured and the tricks began.
Scott Young, Mitch Culpin and replacement Rod Petty added their names to the scoresheet in the final stages as Park struggled to match the fitness of their hosts.
Player coach Russell Earnshaw was delighted with the result but thought there was still some work to do ahead of next week’s trip to Southend.
“We knew how they were going to play – a little bit like a student side in that they like to throw the ball around and do some unpredictable things,” he explained.
“We entered into that a little bit at times and maybe there are things that we need to tighten up. I would have taken seven tries and a bonus point at the start of the day but it could have been more.
“We weren’t managing the ball well and there were a lot of forwards who weren’t doing forwards’ jobs. They thought that getting the ball to the backs was how you play rugby – which may be the case in the last 20 minutes but not for the first 20.”
Bees: Spee, Hunt, Young, Mitchell (Tomlinson 65), Culpin, Woodrow (Petty 72), Brown; Long (R Davies 55), Phillips (Collett 59), Voisey, Earnshaw, Pammenter, Connilly, Clayton (Halavatau 55), Jenner.
Westcombe Park: Lanksheare, N Davies, Child, Purdy, Campion, Hunter, Bruce (Walsh 70); Mitchell (McKinnell 62), Moyce (Bonner 67), Croall, Chance, Preqcanin, Abbott, Lonergan (Thorpe 62), Inches. Replacement (not used): Lewis.