Birmingham & Solihull Bees 16

Tynedale 14

IT says much about Birmingham & Solihull's parlous position that even a euphoric last-minute home win against higher-ranked opposition can be considered a set-back.

"I wanted five points and got four," mused their director of rugby Russell Earnshaw. "It's pretty frustrating because we left a lot of tries out there." Indeed they did, more of that later.

Which meant while the actual result, a third consecutive victory, was a massive shot in the arm, the net result was they slipped from 14 points adrift of safety at the start of the day, to 15 by its end after Wharfedale spanked Stourbridge and took a try bonus.

With six matches remaining their chances of staying in National One got no better despite this gutsy and well-deserved victory.

It was a curious match. Bees won the second half 10-0 and went into the break grumbling about being short-changed for their early dominance.

Then they lost the second period 14-6 but thanks to Dan Hawkes's lofted drop goal, from 25m and to the right of the posts, on virtually the last play, they frolicked like spring lambs at the final whistle.

But that is the upside down world in which the Damson Park outfit exist at present. Where performances don't matter and results are everything, a philosophy that is the antithesis of most modern day coaches.

"We failed if you measure us against our half time targets because I wanted us to win the second half and we didn't. That's a little bit frustrating," Earnshaw said.

"But I am proud we got out of it and nailing that scenario at the end. When we nail things with a bit more accuracy we are a good side."

Bees were a good side waiting to happen for most of this match. After recalibrating their understanding of the off-side line and the break-down regulations to fit in line with Scottish referee James Matthew, they prospered.

For the first half Tynedale had no answer to Bees' driven maul and had they 'nailed' things with a little more accuracy the hosts could quite easily have gone in two or three tries to the good.

In the end they only managed one and that was thanks to a rather incongruous piece of individual brilliance from Jack Pons. On a day when wingers had little to do the youngster created something out of nothing to meander his way to the posts from 60m.

But Bees being Bees there is always time for a defensive lapse and so it came just after the restart as Tynedale's Gavin Beasley, who until Hawkes's goal looked to have been the game's dominant force, began to invite his team into the match.

Twice he spotted a shortage of defenders in the left corner to put full back Harry Mountain in for a brace. Beasley converted and for all their first half supremacy Bees were behind 14-10.

Mark Woodrow kicked a penalty on the hour to reduce the deficit to a point and then as his forwards made a meal of setting up another maul Hawkes kept the comeback alive.

Unfortunately for Bees though, the only thing that isn't upside down is the league table. They are still third bottom and the light of hope is as faint as ever.

BEES: Hawkes; Lowdon, Evans, Connolly, Pons; Woodrow, Jolly; McArthy, Radburn, Darkintis, Quarrie, Markham, Brightwell, Preece, Earnshaw. Replacements: Tau, Dunne, Farmer, Pierrepoint, Ford

TYNEDALE: Mountain; Harris, Bramwell, Outson, Smales; Gavin Beasley, Peck; Harrison, Cherry, Westgarth, Miller, Dunne, Murray, Grant Beasley, Shires. Replacements: Ridley, Dickinson, Johnson, Cousin, Rogers

Referee: James Matthew