Rugby: Berkswell take spoils in game overshadowed by serious leg injury

Steve Wake reports on Berkswell’s home Midlands West DIvision 2 (South) encounter against visiting Pershore on Saturday 29th January 2011:

Berkswell & Balsall – 23 Pershore – 5

A half-hour delay, due to a serious leg injury to a Pershore player which required a pitch-side ambulance, failed to disrupt a bright performance from Berkswell. The B’s bolstered their three-quarter line following last week’s disappointment against Bedworth and it seemed to do the trick. Pershore who posses quality and elusive running backs weren’t allowed to get going, while the home forwards put in their usual strong performance to dominate in the sets. Berkswell’s one regret was that yet again they missed out on a bonus point, that a fourth try would have delivered.

Pershore received the kick-off and straight away showed their intent to run the ball by making inroads down the right. They were proving a handful for Berkswell’s early tackling, which was not effective enough. The visitors were kicking down the slope for possession and it was ten minutes before B’s were able to spend any significant time in the Pershore half. As Berkswell started to push the visitors back, they were awarded a penalty for ‘not releasing’ which Sam Bignall kicked for a 3-0 lead after 17 minutes.

The home side were beginning to dominate the scrummage and twice they elected to take a set scrum in place of a penalty, when in the Pershore ‘22’. However they were pinged by the referee both times, after getting a good drive on. A second penalty kick, from 35 meters, was attempted by Bignall, but it fell short of the posts. Then, eleven minutes before halftime, Pershore Flanker Toby Grace suffered a bad ankle injury. The referee very promptly called for an ambulance and took the teams off the field and back to changing rooms, as the player couldn’t be moved until the ambulance arrived. Owing to the fast response of West Midlands Ambulance Service the game was restarted with only thirty minutes having been lost.

Both sides were keen to try and maintain their momentum after the restart. Berkswell had the territorial advantage and were awarded a penalty for offside. Bignall took the kick, but unluckily hit the post; however the loose ball was still in play and after initial confusion in the Pershore defence, Bignall was able to regain possession, chipping through and winning the race to the ball to score wide out on the left. His conversion was wide, but the halftime whistle soon followed and Berkswell looked forward to playing downhill in the second half with an 8-0 advantage.

Five minutes into the second half Berkswell were awarded a penalty for Pershore going over the top at a ruck. Bignall hit the upright for the second time and this time Pershore cleared their lines. The home pack were now dominant and attempted to push the visitors over their own try-line; the scrum collapsed and this time Bignall kicked the resultant penalty. After 53 minutes B’s Captain Joe Cart, playing an unfamiliar role at inside centre, made a powerful break and got over the Pershore line, but was held-up. The resulting scrum was well executed by Berkswell, as power and control saw them push their opponents over, for No.8 Mark Galpin to pick-up and score. Bignall added the extras for an 18-0 lead.

Pershore continued trying to get their running game going and were rewarded after 62 minutes as their swift and diminutive left wing outpaced the Berkswell defence with a mazy run down the left, to score an unconverted try. With daylight fading and the floodlights on, Berkswell had the last word; Galpin won good lineout ball 30 meters out, broke through the Pershore forwards, drew the cover and slipped a great ball to Richard Waite who dived over from short range. The unsuccessful conversion attempt was the final kick of the game, leaving Berkswell one try short of a bonus point yet again, in the gathering gloom.

Scorers

Tries
Sam Bignall (1)
Mark Galpin (1) Richard Waite (1)

Penalties
Sam Bignall (2)

Conversion
Sam Bignall (1)
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Craig Burgess - BalsallCom.Com

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