Steve Wake reports on Berkswell and Balsall’s Midlands Intemediate Cup 2nd round encounter against Stourbridge Lions (played on Saturday 16th October 2010):
Stourbridge Lions (19) – Berkswell & Balsall (24)
In an enjoyable entertaining game Berkswell progressed to the third round of the Midlands cup with victory at Stourbridge. Each side scored three tries, but B’s kicking was much improved this week, as they managed all three conversions and a penalty. Stourbridge’s young side came back strongly in the final minutes and it was the visitors who were hanging on for the victory at the end.
It took Berkswell just nine minutes to race into a crucial 10-0 lead. First Sam Bignall, returning at full-back for his first appearance of the season, kicked a penalty from 30 meters, and then he converted a try from Joe Cart to extend the lead further; Cart the final beneficiary of an extended driving maul by the B’s forwards.
The game was very even, with both sides going close, as two very young three-quarter lines faced each other, always keen to run with ball-in-hand at the opposition. With twenty minutes gone Stourbridge reduced the arrears with a try; their left wing going over after cutting inside off his wing. The conversion was good, reducing Berkswell’s lead to just three points. Despite plenty of open, running rugby there were no further scores before halftime.
Stourbridge began the second half very positively; their backs were creating space and finding gaps in the visitor’s defence. It was no surprise that they got their due rewards with an unconverted try just four minutes into the second half, to take the lead for the first time. To Berkswell’s credit they came back immediately, regaining the lead, straight from the restart. Captain Joe Cart charged down an attempted clearance and chased the loose ball, gathering and diving over the try-line, under the posts. Matt Comfort added the extras to put Berkswell into a 17-12 lead.
After 69 minutes the visitor’s forward power produced another try as Mark Galpin touched down a push-over try, as Berkswell’s front eight got their just rewards for another solid performance. Comfort again added the extras to extend the lead to twelve points. Berkswell probably thought they had done enough, as the game reached the final few minutes, but Stourbridge showed tremendous spirit to end the game on top. Their pressure paid off as they worked a converted try with just a couple of minutes left. With the Lions just five points adrift the final moments of injury time were one long episode of Stourbridge pressure, but the B’s defence held firm to close-out the match and proceed to the third round.
Berkswell return to league action this coming weekend with a trip to Pershore in the Midlands League Division 2 (West).
Scoring Summary v Stourbridge Lions:-
Joe Cart (2)
Mark Galpin (1)
Sam Bignall (1)
Matt Comfort (2)
Sam Bignall (1)
Saturday 23rd October
League – Midlands 2 West (South)