North Midlands slipped to a 27-12 defeat against a well-organised Warwickshire in their second match in this season’s Bill Beaumont County Championship Division Two South at Bromsgrove’s Finstall Park today.
Last season’s contest between the two Midlands rivals produced a thrilling 56-56 draw but this time Warwickshire had a little too much power out wide and, in fly-half Dan O’Brien, a player with siege gun kick that meant that North Midlands were kept at bay for most of the match.
It was only in the final quarter, when Warwickshire had eased into a 27-0 lead, that North Midlands were able to assert themselves in attack and they scored consolation tries through fly-half Mitch McGahan (Bournville), which he also converted, and a late, late close range effort from replacement scrum-half Charlie Bennett (Evesham).
An O’Brien penalty gave Warwickshire an early lead which they built on with tries from wings Josh and Patrick D’Arcy, brothers from Earlsdon.
Nuneaton centre Elliott Brown created the first with a penetrating run which still required work from Josh D’Arcy to round off the attack.
Patrick D’Arcy’s try had an element of good fortune about it as a Barnes Wallis pass wrong-footed the North Midlands defence but bounced kindly for the right wing who gathered and powered over in the corner.
O’Brien converted from the touchline and although North Midlands finished the first half camped in Warwickshire’s 22 they could not turn their pressure into points.
North Midlands were relieved when O’Brien was off target with two kickable penalties early in the second half but there was no escape when Warwickshire launched another attack which sent Josh D’Arcy over for his second try.
Brown then powered through some flimsy defence for the bonus point try which full-back Rory Vowles improved but North Midlands again showed character by rallying in the final quarter although their fightback came too late to secure either a losing or try bonus point.
North Midlands complete their campaign with a trip to Taunton to face Somerset, who were well beaten by Hampshire today, on May 19 (3pm).