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Home > News > Bees 47 - Westcombe Park 7
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Your News Bees 47 - Westcombe Park 7
10
NOV

Going into Saturday's game there was no doubt Bees were odds on favourites. Westcombe Park had come off an uncomfortable 21-55 loss to Stourbridge whilst the Bees had been busily re-engaging their campaign with good wins against Blackheath and prior to that, the Cornish All Blacks.

Yet with 23minutes on the clock and the only score on the board coming courtesy of the visitors some could have been forgiven for giving pause for thought, after all, it wasn't the first time an 11th placed team had come looking for trouble...

Such is the way with Bees though - starting with a buzz hasn't exactly become a mastered trait and as such it was an anxious wait for home fans as opportunities in the early stages went passing by whilst an unnerving number of turnovers were sourced by the visitors at the breakdown. Even so the Bees endeavour couldn't be faulted, the tempo was high and the intent in their play was there for all to see but all the same it was the side from Kent who took first blood, and deserved it was too.

Having weathered the Bees early phases Westcombe Park turned defence into attack on the 8minute mark when they counter-rucked with demonstrable commitment. Flanker Doug Abbott careered through a dog-leg line to release left wing Niki Davies who galloped to the line with glee. Converted by fly-half Gareth Hunter from an acute angle, his sweetly struck kick reverberated around a silenced Sharmans Cross crowd and although moments later opposite number Mark Woodrow had a chance to make inroads in high winds the ball was teased away from the posts.

A quarter of the game gone and nothing to show for Bees increasing number of breaks and carries until Woodrow in taking the game by the scruff of the neck signaled things to come when dancing feet took him untouched through Combe’s backline. A glory pass to Captain Rob Connolly was forced when Cameron Mitchell on the inside would have been safer but the Little General doesn’t operate on ‘tame-time’ so it surprised no one when minutes later matters had been rectified as the fly-half again ghosted through a drifting defence to personally make amends. In converting his first try of the season Woodrow smashed through a century of league points, the first to do so in National Division 2.

With the scores levelled, Bees attempts to find the right blend of play accelerated – the speed of play at the ruck increased, passes were now being given earlier whilst off-loads became more accurate. As a result 10m breaks became 30m breaks and isolated charges were expunged in favour of support in numbers.

Bee’s second score pleasingly surmised much of the above: the BLT of all sandwich-tackles by lock Shaun Pammenter and hooker Ben Phillips drew a Combe penalty (for holding-on) which in turn established the momentum for Woodrow to gain 50m with the boot placing Bees’ attack straight into their opponents 22m. >From the resultant line-out right wing Simon Hunt was launched into the Combe backline, the ball was bridged courtesy of evergreen prop Matt Long enabling scrum-half Sam Brown to unleash the ball across the pitch. Woodrow missed-one to Young who drew the collision to preserve space for fullback Reece Spee who ran a lovely in-out line to dot down in the corner. Direction, focus, continuity and execution – a pleasing score which thankfully did much to warm (at least most of) the crowd on what was a bitterly cold day. Woodrow converted from the sideline to further extend Bees lead (14-7).

With Bees moving firmly into the ascendancy scores from Ben Phillips either side of the half-time whistle finally quashed the hopes of Orpington’s finest. A typical 40m Hunt charge set Jim Jenner’s pick-up, Brown released an inter-mixed line which included prop Craig Voisey who off-loaded with time to allow Young’s clever entrance into the line from deep to foil the last man, Phillips with time stole a few extra meters to the posts, which Woodrow appreciated and rewarded (21-7). A driving maul doubled Phillips’ haul as his comrades surged him to and over the line from a close range line-out for the team’s fourth try and importantly the four-try bonus point. With impeccable predictability Woodrow added the extras (28-7).

With Westcombe playing for honour they continued to do their shirts proud as they forced Bees back onto their try-line in one final push for a score but with Bees in no mood to relent Leo Halavatau marked his arrival with a signature driving tackle which gave Bees the scrum they wanted and the time they needed to relieve the pressure. >From which point it was again, in the main, all Bees.

Notable big yard breaks from Brown, Spee and Young set the home side up with possession and territory. Combe’s wing-man Davies then did his side no favours, earning a yellow card for a professional foul 15m out, but Bees weren’t complaining the eventual loss of a man leading to Bees sixth score. From a tap penalty Woodrow dropped an outstanding blind pass into the path of Young, arriving like the proverbial freight train, to mark his maiden score of the season in style. Converted? Need you ask...(35-7)!

Having enjoyed an superlative 72minutes Woodrow made way for Rod Petty who immediately marked his entrance with what may well turn out to be one of the tries of the season. From a scrum-5, Petty from behind his goal-line released his backs, Spee carved 70m through the first wave of defence, checked his run and found wing-man Mitch Culpin in support. With Combe’s fullback working tirelessly his best efforts left him overcommitted and with one dropped shoulder Culpin was clean over for an end-to-end try. Petty converted from a challenging angle (42-7) and then added the icing on a clinical cameo – replacement Ryan Tomlinson putting the former Australian Sevens man into space for a simple dash to the line. With the conversion one step too far, the Bees wrapped up a seven try mauling. A good result ahead of a long trip to Southend next Saturday.

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