Rugby: Off-colour Berkswell slip to home defeat

Rugby: Steve Wake reports on Berkswell’s Midlands 2 West encounter played on Saturday 9th October 2010:

Berkswell & Balsall 15 – Bedworth 31

Midlands 2 West (South)

An off-colour home performance from Berkswell saw them lose a game which, had they played to their normal tempo and as a cohesive unit, they may have won. Some poor decisions behind the scrum coupled with the pack playing too much as individuals when the ball was in hand, saw them go down to a workmanlike Bedworth side. The visitors front eight hit the rucks and mauls at pace and rarely gave B’s time to set-up good possession, or dominate territorially. Berkswell were on top in the scrums, resulting in two second half push-over tries, but had no answer to a fine display of both controlled kicking and decisive running from the visitor’s No.10, who was often available to clear the ball deep into the home half, when under pressure and also scored one, and set-up two, of Bedworth’s tries.

Berkswell kicked off playing up the slope and despite some bright opening passages of play were a try down after just four minutes. The B’s had rumbled into the Bedworth half with some fine driving mauls, but a loose pass behind the pack was intercepted by the visitor’s Fly Half and he sprinted half the length of the pitch unopposed, to score under the posts. The simple conversion left Berkswell seven points adrift.

The home side rallied from this setback and forced a try of their own after eight minutes. Following some fine driving work from the B’s forwards, Bedworth had to collapse a maul close to their own try-line, to prevent a score. Joe Cart took a quick tap penalty and crashed over the line through a wall of bodies, for an unconverted try. Neither side was able to control the game, as chances came at both ends of the pitch. However Bedworth further extended their lead with an unconverted try after 14 minutes, following good mauling play down the left hand touchline.

With half an hour gone the visiting Fly-half was again influential as he ghosted through several attempted tackles before releasing his left-wing for a sprint to the line and Bedworth’s third try, which was converted with an excellent touchline kick. Back came Berkswell with a spell of pressure in the visitor’s ‘22’; but despite a series of five meter penalties they couldn’t break the Bedworth defensive line and the halftime whistle went with B’s trailing by 14 points.

Berkswell wasted a good chance to reduce the arrears, minutes into the second half, with another wayward kick at goal after being awarded a penalty for offside at a ruck. Bedworth took full advantage by breaking to score in the right-hand corner after a fine piece of running rugby. With an hour gone Berkswell saw a glimmer of hope as their pack, who had been gradually wearing their opponents down in the set scrums, managed to drive Bedworth over their own line for a try. No.8 Mark Galpin touching down, but again the conversion drifted wide.

As the match went into the final ten minutes a second push-over try was claimed by Galpin, in an almost identical spot to his first. Failure to convert left the score 15-24, and there were brief thoughts of an unlikely come-back for the Berkswell players. Such thoughts were dispelled however as Bedworth swept up the pitch in injury time, to claim their fifth try. The last kick of the game saw the touch-line conversion sail between the posts, to further improve the visitor’s healthy winning margin.

Scoring Summary :- Tries: Joe Cart (1); Mark Galpin (2)

Berkswell travel next to Stourbridge Lions to play in the Intermediate Cup on Saturday 16th October, kick off is at 3:00 p.m.