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Birmingham & Solihull 15 Sedgley Park 32
4:40pm Thursday 26th January 2012 in Rugby Union
RICH Senior has targeted a top-six finish this season.
The Tigers are eighth in National League One after last weekend’s commanding victory at second-bottom Birmingham and Solihull.
They host sixth-placed Blackheath on Saturday (2.30pm kick off) when head coach Senior is hoping his side can lay the foundation for a big finish to the season.
“If we can beat them we will put ourselves in a good position to go on a run and get among the top six teams, which is our target this season,” he said.
Senior was pleased with the way his side came back to complete a convincing win at Birmingham and Solihull after being on the receiving end of an onslaught in the opening 20 minutes.
“They are fighting for their lives at the bottom, and we know what that can be like,” he said.
“They came out really hard and, even though we had a strong wind at our backs, we were 12-0 down after 20 minutes.
“They have been showing better form recently so we knew what to expect, but we were second best for that opening period.
“But we regrouped and the boys played some good rugby. We controlled the ball better and defended well.
“When we got into our stride we were the better side. We showed really good desire and made tackles, scored four tries, got the bonus point and, in the end, ran out comfortable winners.”
Tigers will be without captain and influential player, Garth Dew, for the rest of the season through injury, but Senior is pleased with the way his replacements in the position and as captain have taken to their jobs.
“Nick Flynn has taken over as captain and is doing really well,” he said.
Tigers were rocked onto the back foot in a one-way opening 30 minutes when Birmingham’s powerful performance belied their lowly position.
The home side scored two tries in quick succession as the Tigers struggled to get out of their 22.
Richard Wainwright worked hard to keep the score down, and a superb last-ditch tackle from Jamie Harrison stopped what would have been a deserved third try for the home team. Sedgley kept their composure and steadily began to impose themselves. They began the comeback when Will Runciman recycled a quick ball to find Simon Parrot, who whipped the ball out to Jamie Harrison to sprint over the line on 17 minutes.
Nick Flynn’s influence grew and great pressure from Juan Crous and Louis McGowan opened the way for Tigers’ next points when they smashed into the Bees defence and forced a penalty, which Greg Smith kicked in the 33rd minute.
With the balance of power now swung the way of the Whitefield men, it was just 60 seconds before they scored their second try.
Parrott ran straight through the middle of the defence to score, and Smith converted to give Tigers a 15-12 lead at half time.
After a fine start by the home side, Senior’s men dominated the second half, Crous going over for the best try of the game after a rampaging run.
Dave Livesey scored the third and Smith converted on 50 minutes.
With Birmingham down to 14 men, Matt Riley surged through for the fourth and bonus-point try four minutes later, Greg Smith again converting to complete a confidence-boosting victory.