Bourne are convincing winners against Northampton BBOB in Midlands 3 East (South) clash
Bourne continue to keep up the pressure on Stamford and Oakham at the top of the Midlands 3 East (South) table after a convincing home victory on Saturday.
They defeated Northampton BBOB 52-13 at Milking Nook Drove and remain in third place, just three points behind new leaders Oakham who were 30-8 winners at Stamford and provide Bourne’s next opposition when Andrew Brown’s side travel to the Rutland Showground on Saturday, February 15.
Saturday’s visitors from Northampton arrived having had a difficult season to date but came on the back of a narrow loss to Stamford and the hosts were rightly keen to avoid slipping up.
Bourne played into a significant wind during the first half but enjoyed the greater share of possession and territory with much of the opening 40 minutes being played in the Northampton half.
Despite their dominance Bourne could not convert their pressure into points due to too many handling errors on their part.
There was a sense of impatience on the hosts' part as rather than build momentum they often chanced offloads that went to the floor or mistakenly found their way to the hands of the opposition.
Bourne eventually opened their account when Josh Lynch, starting the game at centre, cut through the Northampton defense with relative ease.
Lynch's run took him from the halfway line to the 22 where he threw a decent pass to centre partner Sam Thornburn who typically showed his raw power as he crossed to maintain his recent try-scoring form. Fly-half Sam Evison stretched the lead with the conversion.
The second quarter continued in a similar way - Bourne looked the stronger side and in contrast Northampton suffered several injuries and quickly began to look tired but to their credit the only change on the scoreboard was a penalty taking the visitors to 7-3 down as half-time approached.
Despite some first half frustrations Bourne turned round at half-time confident they could improve their skill-set and turn their notable pressure into points.
Replacement centre Adam McHugh, rested for the first half after his man of the match performance last week, had an immediate impact as he scored with his first touch of the ball just minutes into the second period.
McHugh ran a simple line on to Evison's short pop but left the Northampton defense clutching at straws with a combination of pace and power. Evison was once again on target with the conversion.
Benefitting from the conditions in the second half Bourne found it much easier to move forward and less mistakes allowed the pack to build some momentum.
Fittingly it was prop Jake Appleby who scored next as he crashed onto the ball at speed. His clever training line took him to the try-line from 15 minutes out with the Northampton almost unaware he had broken through. Evison took the lead to 21-3 on the hour mark.
Although it was full-back Jack Berry that crossed for Bourne's next try it was a score very much started by second row Sam Harby who was dynamic in the loose and heavily involved in his side's progress throughout the game.
Harby made a significant break down the blind-side and, although he was eventually brought down, he had tied up several Northampton defenders allowing Berry to make the most of the resulting space. A swirling wind denied Evison the conversion.
A short while later Berry added a second as, having moved to fly-half, he feinted to send the ball along his back-line before darting through a half gap created by the confusion in the Northampton back-line.
From the halfway line Berry made light work of beating several cover defenders to dot down. Evison was back on target and Bourne were a long way ahead at 33-3.
Within minutes Berry had secured his hat-trick, thanks mostly to the efforts of Thornburn whose strength was too much for his opposite man.
As Northampton took a rare opportunity to attack Thornburn was quickly up in defence and stripped his opposite man of the ball before popping it to Berry who finished the counter attack untroubled. Some way out from the posts Evison narrowly missed the conversion.
The Bourne forwards continued to involve themselves at every opportunity and as the game opened up they showed a superior fitness that benefitted their endeavours.
Number eight Tom Dixon looked to be back on form and second row Keir Moore put in a man of the match performance.
Thornburn's brother Harry, playing at hooker, was next to get on the scoresheet as Bourne began to race away.
It looked initially as though Berry would get a fourth try as he danced his way through the Northampton defence but, despite his ability to evade the Northampton tacklers, he eventually ran out of energy and had no choice but to look for support.
The Bourne hooker was quick to react and accelerated towards the try-line as Berry threw an impressive pass right in Thornburn's path.
Despite having 20 metres to go to finish and being closely tracked by the Northampton cover defence Thornburn's initial burst of pace and Berry's clever pass were enough to extend the lead. Evison knocked over the extras and with ten minutes left Bourne were 45-3 ahead.
Bourne winger Jamie Colangelo then showed his trademark pace to finish a decent solo effort.
Colangelo made ground from his place on the right wing and linked well with Lynch who had moved to the left wing.
Lynch's well timed pass provided Colangelo with sufficient space to outpace the Northampton defence with ease. Evison made a difficult kick look easy as he took his side past the 50-point mark.
Bourne weren't to have it all their own way though and to Northampton's credit they crossed twice in the final 10 minutes with two well-worked tries which was a testament to the fact they simply wouldn't give up.
Player-coach Brown was pleased with his side's efforts but, despite seeing Bourne accumulate more than 50 points, he was quick to add that his side would remain grounded as they prepare for league leaders Oakham in a fortnight.
He commented: “Our defence against Huntingdon last week was very good for 80 minutes and we attacked well in the second half on Saturday but we know that to beat Oakham we will need to be at our best in all areas of the game for its entirety.
“We made hard work of the first half on Saturday but we created plenty of half-chances and on another day we'll turn more of those into points on the board.
“We opened up in the second half and were far more clinical in both creating and taking our opportunities”
Man of the match Moore also paid tribute to his side.
He added: “We were some way off our best in the first half, putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure but we stuck at it and didn't panic.
“Having soaked up the pressure we were able to eventually build some momentum and at that point we were able to turn the screw. It was good to see the lads in the pack getting on the scoresheet as well.”
More by this authorJames Bedford