Stef Thorp in line for Bournville debut

Experienced prop Stefan Thorp is set to make his Bournville debut in Saturday’s National Two West match against Newport at the Old Showground (2.15pm).

Thorp joined Bournville from Stourbridge during the summer but an ankle injury which required surgery kept him sidelined for the first six weeks of the season.

He returned to action in a Second XV match against Nuneaton three weeks ago and has been named as a replacement for Bournville’s return to league action after a two-week break.

Bournville have made two changes to the side that beat Exeter University last time out, both in the front-row, with James Weaver starting at hooker and Kurtis Payne at tighthead prop.

Weaver and Payne both impressed when they came off the bench in the bonus point victory over the Exeter Students three weeks ago.

Chris Idehen will captain Bournville for the first time in the absence of Ryan Smeilus with Lewis Hall in line to make his first appearance of the season off the bench as back-row replacement.

Saturday’s match will be Bournville’s third North Midlands derby of the season following home games against Dudley Kingswinford and Luctonians in September.

Newport are currently bottom of the table with seven points from their first seven matches with their solitary win being a one point home success against Hinckley.

Bournville beat Newport 22-12 at Avery Fields the last time the sides met 11 months ago but were beaten 35-28 at the Old Showground earlier in the season.

That was the first meeting between the clubs at National League level although there have been regular fixtures in Midlands regional rugby in recent years.

Bournville’s only league win at Newport in the past ten years came with a 21-16 success in February 2014 in National Three Midlands.

Bournville | 15 Owen Williams, 14 Will Aylen, 13 Sam Grimshaw, 12 Sam Wilson, 11 Nathan Decalmer; 10 Jacob Fewtrell, 9 Ben Tibbetts; 1 James Burgoyne, 2 James Weaver, 3 Kurtis Payne, 4 Ben Meakin, 5 Ben O’Sullivan, 6 Louis Mifsud, 7 Chris Idehen (C), 8 Jonjo Fanning.

Replacements | 16 Ollie Stone, 17 Stefan Thorp, 18 Lewis Hall, 19 Ben Pitt, 20 Alex Evans.

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