Giant-killers Birmingham & Solihull have set their sights on causing a few more upsets in this season’s EDF Energy National Trophy.
Bees made the headlines in February 2004 when they famously ousted London Wasps from the quarter-finals of what is now the EDF Energy Cup at Adams Park and played Newcastle at Kingston Park in the semi-finals in front of a live BBC television audience.
They also finished fourth in National One that season, their highest league finish, but their playing fortunes have since declined, culminating in relegation to National Two last season.
They are determined to get back up at the first attempt and are second in the table behind Redruth who they host in a mouth-watering third-round tie at Sharmans Cross Road this Saturday.
Redruth beat the Bees at the Recreation Ground on opening day this season and are due to make a return visit to Sharmans Cross Road for a potential title decider on April 25. But the Bees have some catching-up to do having suffered their first home defeat of the season against Tynedale last weekend which left them trailing Redruth by eight points.
“Losing to Tynedale hurts us more than losing at Redruth on the opening day,” said Bees’ fly half Mark Woodrow. “We had worked so hard to catch up with Redruth but against Tynedale our set piece wasn’t the best, we missed a lot of chances and our defence wasn’t as good as it has been recently.
“I’m not a great believer in easing off in cup matches. I think that we should go in looking to go for both the league and the cup. There is always the risk of picking up a few injuries but we shouldn’t pamper people.
“The way we have been playing this season we are capable of beating most National One teams. It’s just that we go to sleep at times, perhaps we feel that all we need to do is to turn up to win, which is a mistake in this league.
“But we want to get back into National One next season and there is no reason why we can’t turn Redruth over this week, beat a couple of National One clubs and get to the final, if that’s not getting too far ahead of ourselves.”
Woodrow was Bees’ man of the match in that 28-24 defeat of Wasps, kicking 18 points. He subsequently played for Bristol, Napoli, Nottingham and Doncaster but returned to Bees in the summer under the new coaching team of Russell Earnshaw, who is back this weekend after two weeks away as assistant coach to England sevens, and Eugene Martin.
Stourbridge, Birmingham & Solihull’s National Two rivals, face a trip to Henley Hawks, of National Three South, and Broadstreet, of Midlands One, who ousted Huddersfield of National Three North in the last round, welcome North One side Westoe to Binley Woods.