Championship: Worcester Warriors 48 Birmingham & Solihull 3
Even though they watched the same match with differing viewpoints, Richard Hill and Russell Earnshaw shared a common lament following an enthralling battle of the princes and paupers at Sixways – neither thought their side had scored enough points.
But while new Warriors head coach Hill at least had six tries with which to mark his first game in charge, his Bees counterpart Earnshaw was left without any as Simon Hunt’s boot produced the visitors’ only score.
And the Birmingham & Solihull director of rugby felt rightfully short-changed as Bees punctured their well heeled hosts’ defence with surprising regularity, both through the middle and out wide.
Indeed, for around half of this clash between the Championship’s richest and poorest clubs the Solihull outfit looked every bit as dangerous despite operating on a playing budget less than a tenth the size of Warriors’.
Impressive debuts from locks Adrian Griffiths and Semisi Taulava got Bees over the gain line where replacement fly-half Sam Robinson and youngsters Jack Preece and Will Lawson found numerous gaps.
But unlike Worcester, for whom Jake Abbott, Marcel Garvey, Rob Higgitt, Tom Arscott and Aleki Lutui crossed the line as the promotion favourites also produced a penalty try, Bees could not find the finishing touch.
Mitch Culpin came close following an interception by Ngalu Tau and cross kick by Ollie Winter and Rod Petty looked as though he had grounded the ball at the death only to have the score ruled out.
Much to Earnshaw’s frustration, the scoreboard remained resolutely unmoved.
“We probably had 20 visits to their 22 and come away with three points – and those were from outside it,” he complained.
“It’s about accuracy and clarity. It’s getting those points to keep the board ticking over. We didn’t have that, we probably lacked a little bit of leadership of someone to say ‘right, this is what we are doing’.
“You have to have the guys who can drive the bus. We need to get those guys pretty quickly.
“We have got one player, Matt Long, who has played 168 games for the club and no-one else is even near 100. We have a few near 50 or 60 and probably the most who have got seven or eight.
“It’s that playing together, it’s knowing what people around you are going to do. We have got to accelerate that process as quick as we can. There is no other way to do it other than playing in competitive games like this.”