Peter Gavin previews Birmingham & Solihull v Worthing Raiders


Birmingham & Solihull RFC v Worthing Raiders

19th January 2019  

Kick-off 2.30pm

Raiders are on the road again this Saturday heading north to the Midlands to take on Birmingham & Solihull RFC (Bees). This will be our first ever visit to play at Portway. Bees were successful last season gaining promotion as Champions of Midlands Premier (L5). Normally they would have taken up their place in NL2North, but once again there is an imbalance between North/South, so Bees have been ‘level transferred’ South. They visited Roundstone Lane in September, Raiders won an exciting match (51-37).

History & Background stuff

Birmingham RFC

Founded in 1909, the Club was based at Portway which is their home once again. When league rugby started in 1987/88, Birmingham RFC was seeded in National Division Three (Exeter, Plymouth, Wakefield, West Hartlepool etc). At the end of the first season the club was relegated. A second relegation followed in 1988/89.

Solihull RFC

Founded in 1933, Solihull, also found difficulty in adjusting to the demands of league rugby, seeded to Area League North in 1987/8 the club was relegated to Midlands Division One, finishing ninth the following season.

Birmingham & Solihull RFC

Founded in 1989 by a merger of the clubs.

League History

1989-1997…. Level 4 or 5   1997-00 Level 3

2000-2008 Level 2    2008-12 Level 2 or 3 alternate years

2012-15 Level 4    2015-18 Level 5

After playing at various locations in and around South Birmingham and changing name to Pertemps Bees for a few seasons (2001-8), the club are now back at their former training ground, Portway,  just off Junction 3 of the M42.

Bees maybe remembered for their cup success of 2004, in which they caused the biggest upset in the professional rugby era by beating Wasps 28–24 in the quarter final of the Powergen Cup.

The club turns out 2 Senior XVs (Bees & Hornets), Colts and U17s.

Junior/Mini Rugby taking over on Sundays.

Ladies Rugby is played under the name of Lady Bees

Club Colours: black, white, red and gold,

Last season Midlands Premier P26 /W23 /L3 Champions…. 113 points.

A successful season saw promotion by 11 points from runners-up Peterborough Lions, who also won promotion after their play-off victory away at Hull (22-31). The Bees lost their last fixture to Newport (Salop) 10-33, prior to that they had defeated every other club in the league home and away apart from Sandbach who managed to beat them twice (26-33, 23-20). They scored an impressive 1021 points whilst conceding 369. Messrs: Foreman, Payne, Spink, Wright, Weaver, Jolly (Capt.), Tilsley made regular appearances.

Links with Worthing

Amongst their Alumni mention is made of a certain Semisi Taulava who many may remember strolling out for the Raiders in 2010. He played for Bees for a couple of seasons (2011-2), before moving on to Rotherham and Worcester.

I am reminded that Raiders legend and former Captain Matt Miles represented Bees between 2004-7 (91 appearances), whilst the club were playing at level 2. Matt, who attended lunch prior to the Guernsey match, played 119 times for Raiders between 2010-15. (He is still playing!…in the squad at Blackheath, although nursing an injury at present.)

Raiders v Bees

29th September 2018 Worthing Raiders 51 Birmingham & Solihull Bees 37

In the first ever league fixture between the clubs Raiders managed a five-pointer, but this was not achieved without a scare. By the 60th minute the visitors looked well beaten, but Bees fought back from 34-16 to lead 34-37 with 7 minutes left on the clock.

However, a brace from John Dawe and a try and 2 conversions from Matt McLean eventually sealed the win for Raiders.

Raiders: Maslen, Boyland, Richards, ForrestJ, Barnes, McLean, Walsh, Birch, Luke, Adams, Dingle, Lake, Harris, Dawe, Perkins.

Bench: Grief, Gatford, Cook, Sims, Lee.

Scores: Tries: Perkins (8 min) Barnes (15 min) McLean (35&76 min) Forrest (53&58 min) Dawe (73&79 min)

Con: McLean x 4 Pen: McLean x 1.

Bees: Venus, Kelly, Nunney, Tilsley, Dight, Rodman, Jolly, Foreman, Garner, Payne, Weaver, Wright, Scriven, Brown, Jadwat.

Bench: Brabham, Pearl, Smith, Cooper, O’Sullivan.

Scores: Tries: Venus (2 min), Rodman (47 min), Jadwat (63 min), Kelly (65 min), Smith (70 min)

Con: Jolly x 2 Pen: Jolly x 2.

This season so far…P18 /W5 15th……20 points (Raiders 8th ……44 points)

The season got off on the wrong foot for Bees as they were docked 5 league points for fielding an ineligible player in the final fixture of last season (with the league already won). However, by the time of their visit to Roundstone Lane they were in ‘plus’ territory (+2) courtesy of a 5 pointer against Old Redcliffians (42-38) and losing bonus points against TJs (22-19) and Ding’s  (15-10).

As mentioned above, they deserved their bonus point on the South Coast and earned another LBP the following week against Redruth (22-25). Since September they have had 4 wins, (all 4 pointers), on home turf against Dings (25-15) and on the road at LIWG (12-19), Barnes (10-15) and Guernsey (19-28). The reversals have generally been close run, with only the  leaders, Rams inflicting a heavy defeat (0-53). Last Saturday they lost to Titans (27-17) although the result was in the balance until the later stages when, once again, Aaron Struminski scored to deny them a point. Skipper, Jack Jolley, has started every match and is leading points scorer (112). Stalwart forward Ashley Scriven has been in the squad every week. Winger Matt Dight leads the try scorers with 8, Umraan Jadwat leads the way in the forwards with 6.

The players

A list of the players used in the match against Titans is provided, along with further information on a few more players who have been used in recent fixtures.

As mentioned previously, Bees have retained nearly all of last season’s successful squad and since the match against us in September, prop forward Nick Bingham has re-signed. He first played for Bees in 2013, but has since played at Bury St Edmunds, Sheffield Tigers and Chinnor. Dan Kelly, centre, has returned to the club after University. Flanker Marcus Brown, on loan from Cinderford last season, has signed up. Influential forwards Matt Spink, Andy Weaver, Danny Wright and South African No8, Umraan Jadwat have only missed a handful of matches between them.


Once again this has the makings of another challenging fixture for the Raiders who will want to put behind them the disappointments against a rejuvenated Clifton.

If possible please try to get along to add your support from the touchline and cheer on the boys!


………..C’Mon Raiders.

Name/ age *played v Raiders 29th Sept Apps 2018-9 TotN2 apps Join Pts Honours Position/Previous Club/s   *Played v Raiders
Team V Titans           12th January LOST   27-17
Ben Phillips (22) 8 12 2014 Full Back: Stourbridge 4
Luke Smith* 8/3R 12 2018 7T N. Midlands Wing: Bourneville, Old Halesonians, Worcester Academy
Dan Kelly* 15/1R 16 2018 3T England Students Centre: Leeds Beckett, Sheffield University, Sheffield Tigers 9, Rotherham Titans 4, Falcons A
Jimmy Oliver (29) 2/2R 75 2012 Centre: Reading Abbey
Matt Dight* (22) 17 18 2014 8T England Counties U20 squad Wing: B&S Youth, N. Midlands U20
Harry O’ Brien 5 5 2017 1T Warwickshire U20 Fly Half: Kenilworth, Leicester Lions
Jack Jolly* (Capt.) (27) 18 91 2012 1T/31C/15P Scrum Half: Wasps Academy, Nuneaton 31
Alex Willis 9/4R 13 2018 N. Midlands LH Prop: Old Saltleians, Bournville
Stewart Pearl* (38) Forwards Coach 7/8R 70 2017 1T Hooker: Worcester 15, Plymouth 77, Coventry 31, Cambridge 59, Stourbridge*29, Broadstreet 60.
Nick Bingham (29) 10 72 2013 2018 1T TH Prop: Broadstreet 10, Bury St Edmunds*33, Sheffield Tigers 12, Chinnor 25
Matt Spink  (25) 12/1R 72 2012 4T Lock:  B&S Youth
Andy Weaver*(28) 16 16 2016 Lock:  Barker Butts, Rugby Lions 28, Coventry 30
Danny Wright*(28) 13 13 2016 England U20 BS Wing Forward: Gloucester, Cinderford 25, Stade Francais, Coventry 66, Broadstreet, Chinnor
Michael Stephens (28) 4/2R 75 2012 OS Wing Forward: Moseley, Camp Hill Old Boys
Umraan Jadwat* (30) 15/1R 16 2017 6T Natal Sharks U18 (2005) No8:  Nuneaton, Western Province Amateurs (2012)
Marcus Brown*(29) 14/3R 17 2017 2T Gloucestershire OS Wing Forward: Cinderford * 81, Gloucester A
Adam Nunney* 8/6R 14 2018 1T Leicestershire Centre: Syston, S Leicester 25, University of Queensland
Matt Probert 4/5R 9 2018 TH Prop: Moseley 1
Ashley Scriven*(30) 11/7R 65 2013 1T OS Wing Forward: Stalwart
Zane Raimondi (30) 2/3R 5 2016 Hooker: Helderberg Rugby Cape Town
Played Recently            
Ed Krawiecki 3/3R 6 2017 5th Jan Lock: Berkswell & Balsall RFC, University of Bath (RL)
Keanan Cooper* 2/1R 3 2018 5th Jan Prop: Barker Butts
Harry Barnes 0/1R 1 2017 22nd Dec Lock: B&S Youth
Nathan Tilsley* 15/1R 16 2017 5T 22nd Dec Centre:  Broadstreet 41, Stourbridge 15
Michael Hagan 4/1R 5 2018 2T 22nd Dec Scrum Half: Lydney*5, Coney Hill 6
Joe Foreman*(21) 11 11 2016 22nd Dec TH Prop: Coventry Academy, Stratford
Michael Ho 4/1R 5 2018 22nd Dec Wing: Old Saltleians
Corey Venus* (26) 11 11 2018 4T 15th Dec Scotland U20 Full Back: Nottingham 4, South Leicester 24, Stourbridge 5, Tigers Academy, Stade Domontois