Rugby Championship: Birmingham and Solihull Bees 28 Nottingham 41
Charity started at home for Bees as they marked their first match at Damson Park by gifting Nottingham their opening win of the season.
And as a result of a terrible first period – in which Russell Earnshaw’s men allowed the visitors to stroll into a 31-9 lead in even time – the Solihull outfit are still looking for theirs.
The fact that they have two difficult away trips to come, at London Welsh and Cornish Pirates, meant they needed to begin a new chapter in their history with a solid display.
But missed tackles and botched lineouts allowed the Green and Whites to score four tries in half-an-hour, with outside-centre Andy Forsyth the chief beneficiary as he ran in a hat-trick.
Spanish full-back Cesar Sempere and wing Andy Savage also went over before half-time to effectively settle the game as the Bees’ midfield defence crumbled like stale cake.
That contributed to a feeling that Bees had let themselves down on what was supposed to be an auspicious occasion.
“I am a bit aghast as to why that actually happened,” said captain Matt Long. “Last week we were aggressive in defence and this week we seemed to sit off them a bit and let them come to us.
“It’s down to concentration, we have to be ready for it for 80-odd minutes. Last week, because it was Worcester and there was a fear factor almost, we went to them, met them in the tackle and chopped them down as they got the ball. This week we didn’t have that intensity for some reason.
“But it’s not just that because we also gave them three or four opportunities that allowed them to score off our mistakes.
“If you let them get that far ahead you are always chasing the game. Once we got back to the things that were working, playing it short, punching the ball we found the gaps.
“We need to learn as a new group of players that that’s the way we have to do it.”
Chiefly, though, Earnshaw’s men need to learn how to defend through the centres. Ben Barkley and the otherwise improved George Crook were the chief culprits as Nottingham cut through seemingly at will.
If there was one consolation it was Crook’s kicking, which brought three penalties, and their scrummaging, which produced a penalty try.
Sam Robinson and Simon Hunt bagged consolation scores after the restart to cancel out a 57th-minute try by James Arlidge.
BEES: Elliott; Hunt, Grove, Barkley (Winter 56), Culpin; Crook (Robinson 58), Brake (Petty 58); Long (Tau 53), Sammons, Halavatau (Parkins 53), Taulava, Griffiths, Connolly (Gerry 52), Preece, Hopley. Replacement: Clayton.
NOTTINGHAM: Sempere; Savage, Forsyth, Johnston (Cobden 59), Jackson; Arlidge (Marshall 70), Usasz (Barnard 60); Fowkes, Youngs (Farrell 69), French (Davies 59), Kench, Raven (Baird 64), Hammond, Armes, Shaw Replacement: Harris.