Spence steps up for Exeter trip

Lock Matt Spence will make his first appearance for Bournville in more than 15 months in Saturday’s National Two West match against Exeter University at Topsham (2pm).

Spence has not featured in the first team since he made his debut in the defeat at Redruth on Bonfire Night in 2022 but he has since given the club sterling service as captain of the second XV, Bournville Blues.

He has been called up for his seasonal debut to partner Nick Murphy in the second row as Ben Meakin will switch from lock to the back-row with both Jonjo Fanning and Louis Mifsud both ruled out of the trip to Devon.

Meakin will start at blindside with Lewis Hall at openside and captain Chris Idehen moving across to number eight.

The other change to the starting XV comes in the centre where Sam Grimshaw, who came off the bench in last week’s victory over Loughborough Students at Avery Fields, starts in a swap with Alex Grove.

Back-row forward Ben O’Sullivan returns to the squad as a replacement following his recovery from a broken arm which he suffered in the final minute of the win against Hornets in December.

Poland Under-20s international prop Kuba Kijak is also named on the bench and will make his first appearance since the opening match of the season at Hinckley if he gets on.

Kijak has since been on loan at Old Halesonians and he was then sidelined by an injury sustained playing for the Regional One Midlands club.

Saturday’s match will be Bournville’s first visit to the Exeter students’ ground as the corresponding fixture was first postponed then cancelled altogether as it had no bearing on league placings.

Bournville travel seeking a first away win of the season and a possible double having edged out Exeter 34-31 at Avery Fields earlier in the season.

At that stage Exeter were second in the table but they have since dropped to fourth having suffered five further defeats, the most recent being 28-21 at leaders Luctonians last Saturday.

Away from the National League Exeter are defending BUCS Super Rugby champions and are currently top of the table having beaten Cardiff 32-14 at home on Wednesday.

Bournville | 15 Owen Williams; 14 Alex Evans, 13 Josh Bloomfield, 12 Sam Grimshaw, 11 Nathan Decalmer, 10 Jacob Fewtrell, 9 Jay West; 1 James Burgoyne, 2 James Weaver, 3 Stef Thorp, 4 Matt Spence, 5 Nick Murphy, 6 Ben Meakin, 7 Lewis Hall, 8 Chris Idehen (captain).

Replacements | 16 Ollie Stone, 17 Kuba Kijak, 18 Ben O’Sullivan, 19 Rhys Williams, 20 Alex Grove.

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