Rugby: Berkswell suffer despite excellent forwards display

Steve Wake reports on Berkswell’s Midlands West Division 2 (South) encounter at Droitwich on 30th October 2010:

Droitwich 33 – Berkswell & Balsall 25

In a match that was similar in style to last week’s game at Pershore, Berkswell again suffered defeat in an open, entertaining game of rugby. Their forwards again took the plaudits on a day when they managed their first bonus point of the season. In fact it could easily have been two bonus points, but an injury time drop goal by the home side moved them eight points clear. This time it was the Worcestershire hosts who raced into an early lead before B’s, who again suffered from an afternoon of poor kicking, clawed themselves back into the lead going into the final minutes, only for their hosts to snatch victory with three late kicks.

Droitwich took the upper hand in the opening minutes. Firstly with a converted try, following a good break in midfield and a sprint to the line by their inside Centre, then a straightforward penalty following a Berkswell offside offence, putting them 10-0 up after 16 minutes. It wasn’t long before B’s had their first points on the board however, as a rolling maul was joined by Centre Mark Connors, who spun off the back of the drive to score. The try went unconverted and it wasn’t long before the home side extended their lead with another three-quarter’s try on 25 minutes. Again the home side kicked their conversion. Berkswell’s response was a typical forward’s try as No.8 Mark Galpin picked up and drove over from close range. Once again the conversion went wide of the posts, to leave Droitwich 17-10 ahead with 36 minutes gone.

In the minutes leading to halftime there was another try apiece. Droitwich converting theirs but Berkswell again missed the posts after Connors had run through two tackles to set-up young winger Joe Large for his first try. The missed kick meant that the home side were another two points in front, 24-15, at the turnaround.

Five minutes into the second half the visitors scored again; Flanker Joe Styles being credited with the try as the forwards drove to the line and he was the man who came up from the pile of bodies with the ball. Another wayward conversion kick meant that Berkswell were still four points adrift, but they had at least secured their first bonus point of the season.

The scoring tempo eased off for a while, as both sides strove to gain the decisive upper hand. On the hour mark it was probably B’s who were threatening more, but injuries to Centre Tim Faulconbridge and Prop Olly Flint forced them both from the field and a lot of the visitor’s momentum was lost.

As the game moved into its final ten minutes, the visitors finally managed to take the lead. This time it was their backs that were responsible, as a fine move along the line saw Phil Allport over in the corner for an unconverted try that nudged B’s 25-24 in front.

However three kicks at goal from the home side in the final minutes sealed victory for Droitwich. Two penalties went over, extending the host’s lead to five points and just when a second bonus point looked on the cards for Berkswell, an injury-time drop goal extended the home lead to eight points, robbing B’s of even that crumb of comfort.

Scoring Summary
Mark Connors (1); Mark Galpin (1); Joe Large (1); Joe Styles (1); Phillip Allport (1)

Note: Berkswell did not play this Saturday (6th November).

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