Burntwood RUFC’s unbeaten league run halted by Handsworth

Burntwood’s unbeaten run in the league this season came to an abrupt end as Handsworth taught them a lesson in how to take your chances.

The hosts huffed and puffed for much of the match but to little effect against a resolute visitors’ defence that eventually ran out 31-10 victors.

Despite creating many promising positions, Burntwood only crossed the try line once whereas Handsworth earned a bonus point, adding three second half tries to the one they scored in the first half.

After the settling in period by both sides, the first thrust by Burntwood provided a penalty attempt for Aza Dune’t but his strike from 25 metres stayed left of the posts.

Craig Seedhouse put his forwards in good position with a punt to the bottom corner. They exerted pressure through a line out and then a scrum but with the pack moving forwards the ball was flicked out and the chance was lost.

At another close range scrum Graham Shelley was whistled for driving into his own player. Then Ben Holt and Ian Jones sniped round the fringes of another forward effort to set up Elliott Tomlinson but he was dragged down close to the line.

Just when it looked as though a home score was due, a loose pass in the backs saw Burntwood outnumbered to their left. Handsworth broke out and their right winger showed a clean pair of heels to race to the try line from halfway for a converted try.

The hosts tried to hit back with Lloyd Shelley prominent in one move near the half hour mark. Their cause seemed to be helped when the Handsworth No. 6 was sin binned but all Burntwood had to show for his absence was a Dune’t penalty goal from in front of the sticks.

Basic handling errors blighted the home effort. They ended the half with a catch and drive up to the visitors’ line but a double movement denied them their first try.

The missed chances proved even more costly just three minutes into the second period. The visitors’ stole a home line out to set up a rolling maul to the Burntwood 22. A penalty award was comfortably converted for 3-10.

The hosts’ best handling move came three minutes later but ended with winger Nick Peplow being bundled into touch.

Handsworth then caught the Burntwood defence napping for a try in the clubhouse corner. An excellent conversion made it 17-3.

The visitors’ sensed it was going to be their day and just five minutes later they added their third try when a flanker burst through thin defence on the home 22 for a converted score.

Lloyd Shelley kept home hopes up when he picked a good line to burst through two tackles for a try converted by Dune’t just after the hour.

Graham Shelley and Jack Neal tried to build on the score with a strong drive at the restart which led to a rolling maul but the forwards failed to get the ball back in play.

Handsworth’s clearance kick proved too difficult to take with the sun low in the sky and the visitors’ scrum half collected the loose ball to set up the bonus point try.

The successful conversion proved to be the last points of the game even though there were 15 minutes to go. Burntwood continued to look for a way through but the nearest they came to a try was a chip and chase by Brett Taylor but he was beaten to the touchdown.

After successive defeats in cup and league, Burntwood will look to get their season back on track with a trip to Wednesbury this Saturday. The 2nds are TBA and the Development Squad welcome Wednesbury 2nds to The Sportsway – both kick offs are 2.15pm.