Greater Birmingham eased to a 36-8 bonus point victory over Shropshire in an entertaining in the opening match of this season’s Three Counties Championship at Bournville’s impressive Avery Fields ground tonight.
A brace of tries in the first from captain Tom Burrows, the pacy Sutton Coldfield wing, set Greater Birmingham on their way to victory against plucky opponents who played their part in a fast and free-flowing contest.
Burrows scored his brace in the space of seven minutes as Greater Birmingham hit back strongly after fly-half Tim Cookson (Shrewsbury) had given Shropshire the lead with an early penalty.
Fly-half Ben Morgan (Sutton Coldfield) converted the first try and he also added the extras after centre TG Clarke (Handsworth) sliced through for Greater Birmingham’s third try after 27 minutes.
It looked like Greater Birmingham would have the bonus point wrapped up before the break as scrum-half Tom Lee (Old Saltleians) scythed through but was denied a try but a last-gasp tackle.
Morgan was off target with a penalty attempt early in the second half and Shropshire then enjoyed their best period of pressure of the match which was rewarded when Shrewsbury number eight Liam Deery nipped in from a tapped penalty move.
But a penalty from Morgan midway through the second half ended Shropshire’s revival and Aston OE flanker Ethan Channer secured the bonus point when he crossed from a lovely angled run.
Morgan added the conversion and there was time for Greater Birmingham to add a fifth try from the final play of the match when Oliver Leigh (Bournville) crossed from close range after a series of five metre scrums and lineouts. Lewis Beaty of Birmingham Exiles added the conversion from the touchline.
Worcestershire & Herefordshire, the defending champions, will begin their title defence with a trip to Shrewsbury to face Shropshire on February 6 (8pm).
Worcestershire & Herefordshire will then host Greater Birmingham at Stourbridge on February 20 (8pm).
The top two teams in the group will contest the final at Telford Hornets on March 13 (8pm).
The Three Counties Championship is contested annually by the three Domestic Unions which comprise North Midlands RFU.