Burntwood RUFC 19 Pershore RUFC 8

In their first home game for two months, Burntwood RUFC made it into the last four of the Midlands Senior Vase with a performance full of commitment and control to overcome Pershore.

They quickly put their disappointing performance a week earlier behind them with a series of opening attacks down the left side of the field infront of their home support.

The first threat was bundled into touch and then full back Ben Holt almost freed Matt Bray but the scoring pass was grounded.

After eight minutes the home pack took their first strike against a Pershore scrum to keep the pressure on and it was rewarded when Matt Wood kicked a penalty to open the scoring.

He had two more penalty chances inside the first quarter as Burntwood kept the visitors pinned in their own half but he was off target with the first and short with the second.

As play went past the half hour mark, Pershore made progress through a lively back division into Burntwood territory but solid defensive work by Mark Poole, Martyn Smith and Mark Partridge kept them outside the 22.

The half ended with another long range penalty attempt by Wood which missed to leave the score at 3-0, meagre reward for Burntwood’s domination of the half.

When Pershore levelled with a penalty just two minutes after the restart it could have marked a shift in fortune but five minutes later Wood landed the second of two penalty kicks following good driving play by Partridge.

Going into the last quarter, Wood was on target again with the easiest of his chances to make it 9-3.

Suitably inspired, Burntwood moved up a gear and great play on half way finished with Craig Seedhouse sending a kick to touch deep into the right corner. Pershore made a mess of their own line out and there was Lloyd Shelley to dart through and touch down. Wood’s conversion extended the lead to 13 points.

The visitors’ cause was not helped when the restart kick didn’t travel the required 10 metres. Wood found his range with touch kicks to each corner to keep Pershore at bay and time ticking down.

Partridge was denied a deserved try when he was held up over the line and then the ball came out of a five metre scrum too quickly for the backs to capitalise. However, with five minutes of normal time left, Wood converted his best penalty of the day to complete his side’s tally.

With the final whistle due any second, Pershore hammered into the home 22. Some indiscipline which resulted in Ash Stanton seeing out the last moments of the game in the sin bin, led to a try from a tapped penalty but it was too little too late for the visitors from Worcestershire.

This Saturday (February 13) Burntwood face Leek with the 1sts (League) and 3rds at home and the Development XV away.

On Sunday morning the U17s welcome Coalville, the U15s (A), U14s (H) and U13s (H) all face Willenhall and the U12s host Rugeley.

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