Steve Wake reports on Berkswell’s difficult Midlands West 2 (South) trip to Droitwich on 18th February 2012:
Droitwich – 35 Berkswell & Balsall – 10
Berkswell were caught cold on their trip to Droitwich following an unwanted three week enforced break, due to recent freezing conditions, Berkswell. Coupled with the challenge of having to field a weakened side, with six regulars injured or unavailable, B’s held an impressive home side for most of the first half, before suffering a comprehensive defeat. Droitwich made good use of significant possession and territory throughout the second-half to score twenty unanswered points. Inexperience and injury no doubt contributed to this defeat – influential flanker Joe Cart went off at halftime – as did the usually dominant front eight who were unable to impose themselves.
There was a match both sides started conservatively, with play switching from one side to the other but, but aside from an early penalty miss by Berkswell, few genuine chances were created. Droitwich opened the scoring on 22 minutes with a penalty, following a high-tackle. The lead didn’t last, when a rolling maul set the opportunity for B’s to take the first try. Scrum Half Mike Walls fed the ball to the left and young winger Charles Cooper squeezed in for a try in the corner. Berkswell’s forwards lay the foundations for another try 10 minutes later, when they pushed the home scrum over the try-line for No.8 Mark Galpin to claim the push-over. Neither try was converted, which left Berkswell 10-3 in front.
It was from here that the game began to slip away for the Bs, who saw their opponents score two tries before halftime, both thanks to enterprising play from the Droitwich midfield. One of these was successfully converted to give Droitwich a 15-10 lead at the break. Berkswell’s influential flanker Joe Cart, who had been playing with the handicap of a leg injury picked up in the first ten minutes, was replaced at the break.
Droitwich took full advantage of the unwanted disruption to Berkswell’s team to score seemingly at will. The normally solid Berkswell defence put on an uncharacteristic display as Droitwich breached their ranks time and again. Droitwich notched up tries on 46th and 64th minutes, with a penalty sandwiched between, to push their lead out to 28-10. The fourth quarter saw Berkswell improve, but later unable to capitalise on the Droitwich open-side flanker being sent-off with ten minutes to go, for two yellow card offences.
The fourth minute of stoppage time put icing on the cake with a fifth try, plus the conversion. Berkswell hope to see several key players return to action for their trip to bottom-of-the-table Pershore next Saturday.
Charles Cooper (1)
Mark Galpin (1)