Wednesbury RUFC 13 Burntwood RUFC 23

Burntwood RUFC stayed in touch with the breakaway group of four clubs in the Midlands 3 West North after a hard-earned win in their first outing of 2010.

They had to come from behind to do it but once their reshuffled line-up came to terms with the task posed by a big, physical Wednesbury RUFC side, they dominated the second period to take the points.

The hosts were ahead as early as the 2nd minute with a penalty given for offside. A second attempt two minutes later from 30 metres hit one of Wednesbury’s giant posts and bounced clear.

Burntwood gradually stemmed the tide in the next 15 minutes but with the competition at the breakdowns fiercely fought, there were frequent turnovers by both sides. There was a distinct difference in playing styles with the hosts driving close to the forwards and Burntwood looking to spread the ball wide.

The visitors’ first scoring opportunity came after 21 minutes when Craig Seedhouse made a clean break into the home 22 but he couldn’t find Matt Bray with the scoring pass. However, this was quickly forgotten. From the ensuing scrum, Ollie Whitehouse charged down a clearance kick and almost crossed the line. The ball was recycled out to Matt Sishton who scored. Matt Wood converted.

Perhaps still rusty from their enforced lay-off, Burnwood missed a tackle at a line out 22 metres off their line five minutes later and the hosts regained the lead with a gift of a try. A successful conversion made it 10-7.

Back came the visitors up the slope. Wood was off target with a penalty after 32 minutes but he more than made amends 2 minutes later with a smartly taken try.

A good take and drive at a line out on the home 22 provided good possession for the backs. Bray fed Wood and he collected his chip through on the run to touch down.

Wednesbury were threatening again up to half time but a knock on completed the first period with Burntwood 12-10 ahead.

Graham Shelley’s men made a bright start to the second half. Whitehouse burst through to the home 5 metre line but the ball went to ground between Rhys Corbally and Mark Partridge. Then an ambitious backs move almost put Steve Blockley away but he couldn’t take the pass in his stride.

Wednesbury responded with a long forwards’ drive from 22 to 22 but a solid hit from Amrit Derry created the turnover to relieve the danger.

A good backs move through midfield was halted when Wood was held back illegally and he stepped up to kick the penalty for 15-10.

This was cancelled out just three minutes later when the home pack mauled up to the visitors’ line. They moved the ball out to the backs and a high tackle was punished with an easy penalty.

Two minutes later, Partridge stole possession in the home 22 which allowed Ben Holt to ghost his way through to the line for a crucial score.

During the final quarter Burntwood tried to keep the home side at bay with Wood, Seedhouse and scrum half Liam Lloyd kicking to the corners and the rest of the side hounding the home defence.

With two minutes of normal time left, Wood sent a penalty in off the bar to complete the scoring although the hosts went very close to a try deep into extra time. Another forward effort took play up to the Burntwood line but an infringement allowed Wood to kick to touch to bring proceedings to a halt.

This Saturday (January 30th) Burntwood are away again, making the short trip to Handsworth for a league game. The following week they are scheduled to begin making up their backlog of fixtures with the visit of Tamworth on Tuesday (February 2nd) for the semi final of the Staffs Intermediate Cup.

Elsewhere, the 2nds are in Merit Table action this Saturday at home against Handsworth 2nds.

On Sunday morning (January 31st) the U17s welcome Burton, the U15s host Tamworth and the U12s are at Uttoxeter.

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