EDF ENERGY TROPHY: Birmingham & Solihull 31 Redruth 8
Bees coach Russell Earnshaw looked like a swamp monster as he left the field following his side’s convincing EDF Energy National Trophy win.
Covered in mud at the end of a bruising battle with their National Two rivals, the towering back row looked fearsome as he headed to the dressing room but still struggled to contain a smile after such a vital win.
Seven days earlier, with Earnshaw coaching the England Sevens in Dubai, the Bees were well and truly swatted by a tireless Tynedale side – a result that did not sit comfortably with either the players or those on the sidelines.
“I was really disappointed that we didn’t play to our full potential last week and there were a lot of things to prove to the opposition, the supporters and to ourselves,” Earnshaw admitted. “We said in the week that we have 14 cup finals to the end of the season – we’ve won today and we still have 14 cup finals for us to go out and play and enjoy ourselves.
“There was just not enough passion last week and I’ve said that to the boys – how can the same group of players concede 28 points last week and make Redruth work hard to score just one try.
“Redruth are leading at the moment and we have to keep putting that pressure on them.
“We talk about having an on-off switch for games and we didn’t quite press the on switch last week.”
The fact Earnshaw started the game with a near full-strength side showed his intentions and had it not been for a forward pass, Simon Hunt would have been celebrating a first try inside five minutes. Instead it was Redruth who chalked up the first points thanks to a Mark Scrivener penalty midway through the first period.
An excellent Mitch Culpin try, one of three converted by Mark Woodrow, put the Bees in the driving seat before scores either side of the break looked to have dealt a killer blow to the visitors.
Scott Young dived in at the corner following some sweet passing between Reece Spee and Cameron Mitchell before prop Craig Voisey scored on the overlap just four minutes into the second half.
Further tries from Rob Connolly and Rod Petty completed the Bees tally while Darren Brown bagged a late try for Redruth.
Among the fringe players handed their chance during the game was flanker Chris Brightwell whose performance now looks like giving Earnshaw a problem ahead of the trip to Stourbridge on Saturday.
“Chris has been out on loan to Leicester Lions and has played really well for them so deserved his chance to start,” the coach explained. “He has done well so it makes selection so much harder this week which is a good thing.”