Bees 23-22 Durham City
Bees snatch victory from the jaws of defeat
A penalty from Adam Mitchell right at the death saw the Bees snatch a win and confirm their sixth place finish in North One East, in a game which they looked to have thrown away as their relegated visitors were the better team for much of the second half.
An end of season game with nothing at stake could have been a complete damp squid, but this game was far from that as both sides set at about playing the game with some real pace and both sides varied tactics, letting forwards and backs have a run with the ball.
The first half belonged to the Bees and the second to Durham City, but it was the visitors who took an early lead with a penalty. The Bees then began to find their forward gears and were quickly in the ascendant and thoroughly deserved their early score as second rower, Harry Jeffery, powered his way over the line. The Bees were playing without a recognised kicker and the kick from out wide was always going to be a challenge and all four conversions were missed on the day, along with a couple of eminently kickable three pointers, which would have seen the home side home and dry without the last minute drama of Mitchell's kick.
On 9 minutes the Bees collected a second try as youngster Luca Devittoris was put into a slight space on the right touchline, pinned his ears back and tore along the right touchline. A shuffle of his feet saw DeVittoris past the final defender and over the whitewash for a superbly taken score.
10 three to the home side with less than 10 minutes on the clock. The Bees continued to hold the upper hand and despite some valiant attempts to break free by the visitors, the game was largely dictated by the Bees.
As the game finished the first quarter, skipper Tom Booth was able to dance over from close range, putting 15 points on the board. Eight minutes later, DeVittoris collected another score after a neat backline move put him in space and the Bees appeared to cruising to a comfortable victory. However, having engaged cruising mode, the home side now allowed their visitors to start playing some nice rugby and from the half hour mark for the next thirty minutes, Durham looked the better side and were back in the game and then suddenly in front through three tries, one of which was converted.
As the clocked ticked on, the Bees upped the energy levels and began to make inroads into Durham territory. There were several penalties which gave the Bees excellent field position, but none of the lineouts the Bees took resulted in anything on the scoreboard. The Bees also elected to go for goal and missed a couple of shots at the posts which a regular kicker would be expected to land.
Dom Copsey stepped up for what appeared to be a final chance to claim victory as it appeared more than 80 minutes had gone. Copsey missed that shot at goal, but as the Bees got the ball back and continued to press the away defensive line, the referee spotted another Durham infringement and Mitchell stepped up to the tee to spare his sides blushes.