Championship-chasing Bees are hoping to reap more rewards today for finally finding the perfect position for box-of-tricks utility man Rod Petty.
Russell Earnshaw’s side finds itself in Cornwall this afternoon where they take on faltering Launceston in a match that once looked a Herculean task but can now be down-graded to mere banana-skin.
The bottom has fallen out of the hosts’ season and having not won in four games – they were unable to beat Blackheath at home last time out – their promotion hopes have long since withered.
The same cannot be said for Birmingham & Solihull who, with nine consecutive league successes, have eased to the top of National Two and still have this match as their game in hand.
A bonus-point victory would put them ten points clear of Redruth and all but see off their nearest rival, leaving Cambridge, their opponents on the last day of the season, as they only other live contender.
The chances of that happening are good, too, with Bees and Petty in top form after last weekend’s 115-0 humiliation of Waterloo.
B&S scored 17 tries that day with Petty claiming his second hat-trick in three matches. It also took his tally to four in two since moving to inside centre.
With previous incumbent Cameron Mitchell’s best season in senior rugby having been interrupted by a shoulder injury, Petty’s installation into the No 12 shirt could not be better timed.
Not only does it fill a Mitchell-sized hole it also solves the problem of what to do about a player who has hitherto been too good to leave out but also too unpredictable to include.
“We have hopefully found his position,” said Earnshaw. “We have managed to get Mark Woodrow and him more aligned than they were before.
“He has got some real positives as a scrum half but some work-ons too that mean Sam Brown is a better fit for what we are trying to do at nine.
“But Rod has great defence, his distribution is superb and he is a great communicator. He reads the game well and reacts. Most of his tries have come from being able to see what is going to happen five seconds before everyone else.”
The Australian is likely to continue in his new role today and will be aiming to add to his season’s haul of nine tries.
Ben Phillips is also expected to recover from a hip flexor problem although Jack Preece could continue at hooker after impressing against Waterloo.