Rugby: Berkswell defeat Droitwich

Here’s a delayed report from Steve Wake on Berkswell & Balsall Rugby Club’s Midlands West 2 (South) victory over Droitwich on Saturday 29th October 2011:

Berkswell & Balsall – 16 Droitwich – 6

Berkswell’s excellent start to the season continued with an emphatic victory over Droitwich, in which the score-line didn’t fully reflect the home side dominance, particularly in the first half during which the visitors struggled to get the ball out of their half. B’s almost paid for this when an improved Droitwich performance in the second half threatened to snatch something from the game which, at half-time, had looked beyond them. Berkswell secured the points with a final rally which ended Droitwich’s brief revival and denied them a bonus point.

B’s started brightly and kept Droitwich deep in their own half from the kick-off. Playing with plenty of variety, Berkswell pressurised the visiting defence into errors. B’s deservedly took the lead after nine minutes; a forward shove at a scrum saw the ball fired left, driving maul set and No.8 Mark Galpin peeling off to score an unconverted try. Continuing possession and territory ensured that Berkswell stayed well in control of the game, but couldn’t increase their lead. Several handling errors, forward passes and wrong options, at vital times, coupled with some desperate but effective defensive work from the visitors kept the difference between the sides to a single score.

Eventually B’s extended the lead when a penalty for offside gave Sam Bignall the opening to kick another three points. This score was only minutes before halftime however and, after a verbal chastening from their coaches; Droitwich began the second half in a much more positive way. Ironically, despite this improvement, the visitors conceded a second try soon after the restart – a lovely kick through the Droitwich defence by B’s fullback James Fahy enabling Centre Dave McNidder to win the race to touchdown wide on the left – but in general the game was now more balanced. Droitwich’s excursions into the Berkswell half were repulsed by the home defence, but on the hour mark they reduced the deficit with a penalty kick.

Try scoring chances for both sides were minimal, but ten minutes after their first points Droitwich scored a second penalty to reduce B’s lead to 13-6. There were certainly some nervous moments for the home side as they battered the visiting defence with increasing desperation, but couldn’t find a way through. Eventually, with four minutes remaining Berkswell secured victory with a penalty of their own; Bignall extending the home lead to ten points to finally snuff out the resurgent Droitwich side.

Scoring Summary
Mark Galpin (1)
Dave McNidder (1)

Sam Bignall (2)