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Solihull aim for Twickenham double

28 February 2005

28 February 2005
Solihull will be keeping one eye on events back home at Sharmans Cross Road when they take on North Bristol in the semi-finals of the Powergen Junior Vase on Saturday March 5 (2pm).

While Solihull are attempting to reach a Twickenham final for the first time Pertemps Bees, their sister club and landlords, will be at home to Bedford Blues in the Powergen Shield semi-final. The finals of both competitions will be playedb at Twickenham on April 16 and both Solihull and Pertemps Bees hope to make it a big rugby day out for the borough.

"It would be fantastic if we could both get to Twickenham, what a fantastic day out that would be," said Solihull spokesman Richard Gamlin.

"That's a big incentive for both of us and I'm sure there will be a lot of text messages and phone calls between Bristol and Solihull on saturday afternoon.

"I'm sure there would be disappointment if only one of us got to Twickenham but there would still be a lot of support from the other club on the day. If neither of us wins on Saturday, that would be a disaster and it doesn't really bear thinking about."

Solihull, effectively the amateur arm of National One club the Bees, will be aiming to complete a league a cup double having secured promotion to Midlands Three West next season by beating Old Halesonians last weekend.

That is their fourth promotion since the club was relaunched only five years ago. The presence of around a dozen former Bees first team players has helped Solihull's impressive progress but Gamlin insists that Sheffield Tigers are favourites for the competition.

"Sheffield were the side that we wanted to avoid when the draw for the semis was made," he said. "They have some former Sheffield and Rotherham players in their side from what we hear and we were pleased to avoid them.

"That's no disrespect to North Bristol. We are expecting a hard game down there and, from the homework we have done on them, they are going to be strong up front. We won't be complacent because we know that if we are we are likely to slip up."

Solihull will be without former bees and Nottingham flanker John Brennan who damaged cruciate knee ligaments two weeks ago, an injury that will keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.

Otherwise they will select from a full strength squad which will include former Nottingham, Coventry and Birmingham & Solihull winger Andy Smallwood who was playing National One rugby only two years ago.