Bourne bounced out of the Vase by Queens

Liam Croker and Sam Thorburn for Bourne tackle Queens' centre Del Starling.  Photo by Alan Hancock.

Liam Croker and Sam Thorburn for Bourne tackle Queens' centre Del Starling. Photo by Alan Hancock.

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MIDLANDS JUNIOR VASE QUARTER FINAL: Bourne 17 Queens 19

Bourne suffered an unlucky defeat in their first-ever Midlands Junior Vase quarter final against Queens at Milking Nook Drove today.

Scrum half Harley Giullari tries to create an opening for Bourne at Milking Nook Drove.  Photo by Alan Hancock.

Scrum half Harley Giullari tries to create an opening for Bourne at Milking Nook Drove. Photo by Alan Hancock.

A kick towards touch by Bourne skipper Tom Dixon with 18 minutes to go bounced back into play and before replacement winger J.J. Roberts could get his hands on the ball, Queens full back Sam Morris stole it and ran past a static defence to effectively seal the game for the Bedford side.

Bourne’s performance, and indeed their first-ever run to the quarter-finals of the Midlands Junior Vase at a breezy Milking Nook Drove, should be seen in the context of the last-minute withdrawals of scrum-half Drew Castle and centre Ben Keast from the starting XV.

Castle’s absence in particular forced joint-coaches John Forbes and Nigel Lindley into a late reshuffle which saw man-of-the-match Sam Thornburn come in at centre and Dixon switch to fly half.

After holding out a concerted Queens scrum a metre from their try line on four minutes, the Bourne dam broke four minutes later when Queens number eight Simon Caddick brushed through a series of weak tackles to open the scoring.

It’s a shame that Queens’ winning try was due to a freak bounce of the ball

Bourne joint coach Nigel Lindley

Queens fly half Ashley Tapper kicked the conversion and at 7-0 down, we were about to see how strong Bourne’s stomach for the fight would be.

The emphatic reply came on the quarter-hour mark with a dangerous run by Bourne flanker Will Legge who smartly handed off to winger Joshua Jordan-Boddey to score his first try since the opening month of the season.

Scrum half Harley Giullari made a difficult conversion attempt from just inside the right touchline look easy to bring Bourne level and there was more “Boddey talk” six minutes later with a try all of his own.

A kick downfield caught Queens’ covering marker asleep and Jordan-Boddey pounced to give his side the lead, although Giullari missed the two-point conversion as the wind threatened to play havoc with both kicking and handling.

Bourne failed to keep their lead though going into the break when a rolling maul for Queens was finished off by scrum half Dave Morrish, Tapper then stepping up to kick the conversion to tie the scores at 12 at the break.

Decision-making would be critical for Bourne if they were to go on and win the game as the second half gave them chances to take the lead again.

Firstly, a scrumdown just metres from the Queens try line was resisted by the Bedford side’s resolute defence before Giullari kicked ahead for front row muscle Neil Wood who was held out from scoring Bourne’s third try of the day.

But seven minutes of pressure finally told when, on 49 minutes, the impressive Thornburn picked up a loose ball from a Bourne scrum and scampered over to put his side in sight of a Midlands Junior Vase final at Twickenham.

The unconverted try left Bourne with plenty to defend and if Thornburn had found one of his team-mates with a pass on 56 minutes, after a swift counter-attack, Forbed and Lindley would have given a very different post-game debrief.

But Dixon’s kick, Roberts’ bad luck with the bounce and Morris’s opportunism left the Milking Nook Drove supporters cursing their misfortune.

In truth, Queens managed to run down the clock by pinning Bourne deep into their own half, although the home side struggled at the end to show any evidence that a fairytale finish was in store off the A151 Spalding Road.

After the game, joint-coaches John Forbes and Nigel Lindley said: “The bounce of the ball beat us but we didn’t make the most of our opportunities in the second half.

“It’s a shame that Queens’ winning try was due to a freak bounce of the ball.

“But more importantly, we gave them a very good game and they know they’ve been in a game.”