Birmingham & Solihull won the North Midlands Cup for the first time since in 1993 by beating Newport by virtue of scoring more tries in a tense and confused end to the final at Dudley Kingswinford this afternoon.
The scores were level 20-20 at the end of normal time and both teams and the match officials thought that a period of extra time would be played to decide the winner.
But competition officials pointed out that the rules of the tournament do not allow for extra time so the decision was taken to re-start the match with a Newport penalty close to their own line. Newport had initially kicked to touch in the belief that extra time would be played.
Newport were unable to score from the re-start so when the full time whistle blew for the second time it was Bees who celebrated having score three tries to Newport’s two.
It may not have been a satisfactory way to decide a final but it was typical of the Bees’ season with a number of tight wins since Paul Williams and Dave Spencer took over as coaches in January.
“We were getting stronger towards the end of the game and we would have favoured ourselves if it had gone into extra time,” Williams said.
“You don’t like to win it that way, but those are the rules and we did score three tries to their two so we will take it.
“We gave them three points at the end and bringing teams back into it is a speciality of ours.
“That’s 11 wins out of 13 since we came so we are very pleased and it’s a good foundation for next season.
“The priority when we came in was to stay up. But winning silverware gives us something tangible from the season.
“We are a club building, we have two good coaches coming in next year. We are still going to be in the background so we have a good coaching team and a good management team so we are looking to go somewhere in the next few years.”
Newport began the stronger and they were seven points up after 11 minutes when wing Liam Holder crossed on the overlap for a try which he also improved.
Mitch McGahan pulled back three points for the Bees with a penalty which was soon cancelled out by Holder which gave Newport a seven points lead at the break.
But the Bees used their driving maul to effect after the break with skipper Chris Goddard being driven over from close range and it required some brave defence from Newport to deny them further scores.
A fumble from Bees full-back Alex O’Malley gave Newport a five metre scrum from which number eight Steve Byrne crossed for a try that Holder converted but it was a score against the run of play.
Bees wing Chris Fensome nipped in for a try which McGahan converted to reduce the gap to two points and lock Matt Spink then crashed over to give the Bees the lead for the only time.
A penalty from Holder levelled the scores but the Bees survived the late confusion to take the county cup for the second time.
Kidderminster Carolians lifted the North Midlands Shield by beating Old Saltleians 32-15 in the middle of three finals on the main pitch.
Veteran number eight Layton Wilkinson and wing Arthur Morgan crossed for tries to open up a 13-0 lead but Old Saltleians responded with full-back Jack Sporcic crossing from a quick tapped penalty.
But centre George Morgan, wing Josh Winfield and Matt Rigbsby put the game beyond reach when they crossed in the second half.
Bredon Star won the North Midlands Vase in the first final of the day by beating Redditch 36-7. Two tries from wing Stefan Lasota helped to take the trophy to south Worcestershire.
There were three finals in the Plate competitions, for teams beaten in the early rounds of the Cup, Shield and Vase.
Whitchurch beat Bromsgrove 24-22 in the Cup Plate final with tries from wing Dan Mee, full-back Robbie Leighton and prop Tom Hale. Leighton contributed a total of 14 points to Whitchurch’s win.
Old Yardleians won the Shield Vase with a 27-20 win over Droitwich although the final was marred by serious injuries to Droitwich pair James Dawson (broken arm) and wing Simon Pearce (broken leg).
Church Stretton, who were beaten in the Vase Plate final 12 months ago, went one better by beating Greyhound 41-26. Player/coach Martyn Longhurst was among the try scorers for Church Stretton, North Midlands’ newest club.