Stourbridge Lions 32 Burntwood 10
Midlands 3 West North
The about turn in Burntwood’s fortunes this season continued with a fourth successive defeat, this time away to Stourbridge Lions.
The match followed the familiar pattern of recent weeks with Ian Jones’s side in contention until half time and then blown away in the second period.
To be fair, the home side are the current holders of the Midlands Senior Vase title and have progressed to the semi-final this season in their defence of the trophy. They are a big, fit side which Burntwood did well to hold to a single point deficit having played much of the opening period in their own half.
A burst by Lloyd Shelley straight from the home kick off proved to be a fleeting venture into home territory as the Lions made progress, helped by several penalty awards.
After 11 minutes they moved the ball right near half way and a neat offload created an overlap for the home No. 8 to gallop in for the opening score.
Play remained in the visitors’ half with the Burntwood confined to defensive duties. They did well but conceded another penalty on 22 minutes which was goaled from 25 metres.
Burntwood’s first real venture into home territory came five minutes later with Luke Rookyard, Jack Neal and Hal Gozukucuk linking up. They earned a penalty but Aza Dune’t’s kick slid left of the posts.
A good attack from the restart initiated by Nick Peplow took play back into the home 22 but Ben Holt was well tackled to end the move.
With the half time break approaching, Dune’t kicked a penalty award near to the right corner. Neal won possession and fed Gozukucuk who went round the narrow side, beat the last defender and touched down. Dune’t’s conversion went in off the post.
It took Stourbridge just two minutes of the second half to stretch their slender lead. They worked the ball to their left winger and he beat the last tackle for a try in the corner.
Burntwood remained in contention when Dune’t kicked a penalty goal just three minutes later but an error at the restart put the visitors back defending in their own 22.
After 50 minutes, the Lions kicked a penalty to the left corner. The catch and drive involved 13 home players and led to a try in the corner.
With an hour gone, the hosts effectively settled the result. From a line out they moved the ball well down the backs for the last man to run round behind the posts for a converted try and the bonus point.
Burntwood rang the changes in their line up but the pattern of play remained unaltered. With time nearly up, Stourbridge again went for a 13 man catch and drive. They were held up on the first attempt but the second proved successful. A fine conversion completed the scoring.
The visitors mounted their best attack of the half into injury time but the chance of a consolation try was ended when Matt Sishton’s burst through centre field came to nothing due to lack of support.
Burntwood’s task to halt this downturn does not get any easier as they welcome table toppers Newcastle (Staffs) to The Sportsway this Saturday – kick off 2.15pm. The 2nds travel to play Burton B and the Development Squad are away to Aldridge 2nds.
Burntwood’s Staffs Intermediate Cup tie, also against Newcastle (away), has been arranged for December 29. Prior to that the club holds its annual Captain’s Boxing Day Ramble, meeting at 10.30am for a walk around Chasewater and returning to the clubhouse for food and refreshment.