Bournville composure earns the spoils

Bournville 44 Loughborough Students 38

Bournville’s composure under pressure from a dangerous Loughborough side secured five points in a free-flowing contest that was a superb advertisement for National League rugby but another nerve-shredder for supporters.

When Bournville’s 15 points half-time lead was reduced to a solitary point midway through the second-half thoughts naturally turned to the defeat by Redruth two weeks earlier when a 26 points advantage disappeared.

But this time Bournville closed the game out with a dominant pack pulverising the Students in the scrum and Stef Thorp capping a fine performance with a try followed by another from Nathan Decalmer which clinched a fifth win of the campaign.

As the previous five league meetings between the clubs had produced 294 points it was always likely that another high-scoring and try-laden contest was in prospect, and so it proved.

Bournville won the try count 7-5 but Loughborough were always dangerous with ball in hand and, with fly-half Alex Wainwright landing all six of his kicks off the tee, they were able to head home with two bonus points.

In the end Bournville’s forward dominance proved decisive and laid a solid platform from which the backs were able to prosper.

“We played some really good stuff and there was always going to be a time in the game when they came at us and how we dealt with and managed that was important,” said Head Coach Matt Price.

“It was a tight game because we missed a few kicks and we left a few points out there. But the boys responded well, they didn’t panic, they managed the game well and it was never in doubt with five or six minutes to go.

“We also managed the period when we went down to 13 very well. When you have a dominant scrum – all but two of the scrum penalties went to us – it helps.

“We have a good bunch of boys, it was a big shift from the front five today and we have come out with five points.

“In the past when we went down to 13 it could have been a time when we collapsed but we didn’t. We stuck to our process, we managed the game and we got the win which was the important thing.”

The match was played at a frenetic pace throughout with the only chance for the players to catch their breath coming with a lengthy stoppage while club photographer Lee Sullivan received treatment having suffered a nasty shoulder injury when he slipped trying to get images of Josh Bloomfield’s fourth minute try.

Owen Williams intercepted on the home 22 and raced away before slipping the ball to Bloomfield who went over for his first try for the club.

Jacob Fewtrell landed the conversion but Loughborough were level shortly after play resumed with number eight Archie McKibben driving over from a five-metre scrum.

Bournville responded with a try for wing Alex Evans and a pushover effort from Jonjo Fanning, but Fewtrell was unable to add the conversions and Loughborough pulled to within three points when Wainwright improved McKibben’s second try.

Alex Grove’s try, after a period of sustained pressure, secured the try bonus point after 36 minutes before a brilliant counter-attack that went almost the length of the pitch saw Owen Williams dot down with Fewtrell adding the extras.

But Loughborough, despite their problems at scrum time, would not lie down and they made it 29-28 when Wainwright converted tries from wing Jenson McInulty and scrum-half Sam Bryan in a 10 minutes period.

Crucially, only seven points were scored while Bournville were down to 13 men, and with a full complement on the pitch the game was decided by forward pressure.

A sustained attack was finished by Thorp with a close-range try then Fewtrell kicked a penalty after Loughborough buckled at a scrum but the Students continued to throw everything into attack and were only two points adrift with seven minutes to go when wing Chris Temperley dotted down for their fifth try.

Decalmer’s try, after Williams had unlocked the defence, was converted by Fewtrell, but with so much stoppage time there were still five minutes left on the clock.

Loughborough opted to try to close the gap by scoring a sixth try and they won a succession of penalties in the 22. It required some ferocious defence to deny them a try but a reversed penalty for pushing in front of the posts gave Wainwright the opportunity to steal a second bonus point.

Through the Viewfinder

Andrew McCumiskey


Brilliant win against the Students. What a turnaround from two weeks ago. Best wishes go to Sully, Club Photographer and real inspiration. Get well soon.

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