Burntwood RUFC claim bonus point victory over Wednesbury

Burntwood christened their new playing strip, courtesy of Alpha Sports and Crown Highways, with a bonus point win to begin their 2015-16 league campaign.

Danny Duggan hands off a defender. Pic: Joanne Gough

Danny Duggan hands off a defender. Pic: Joanne Gough

Five minutes into the second half, the scores were locked at 10-10 but the centre partnership of Danny Duggan and Owen Rookyard took the home side well clear with seven of the eight tries scored.

The hosts began the contest well and could have been ahead as early as the first minute. Turnover ball was fed to winger Rob Jones who made good ground but the chance was lost due to a fumbled pass in midfield.

Burntwood continued to press and went ahead after ten minutes. Ian Jones fielded a visitors’ kick out of defence. He found skipper Ben Holt who made an incisive break into the 22 before feeding Rookyard who scored the try.

Four minutes later the lead was doubled after Rookyard won possession in a tackle to set his side on the attack. Jack Dace fed Duggan who somehow found his way through heavy traffic to bustle his way over under the posts. There was no conversion as the ball toppled off the tee at the last moment.

Following this enterprising start the game then went through a period of midfield sterility as the visitors worked their way back into it through their big forwards. They gained some reward with a well-struck penalty goal from wide out just outside the 22 five minutes from the turnaround.

Owen Rookyard tries to break away. Pic: Joanne Gough

Owen Rookyard tries to break away. Pic: Joanne Gough

Another penalty attempt three minutes into the second half was wide of the target but two minutes later the visitors drew level. A wayward kick out of defence set the Wednesbury forwards on the attack. They drove close to the line before the scrum half nipped through a gap for the try which was converted.

Stung into action, Burntwood regained the lead on 49 minutes. Sean Latham and Josh Canning combined to win turnover ball which was moved wide right. Replacement full back Craig Seedhouse hit the line at pace to send Rob Jones running into the 22. Dave Ward followed up to go close to the line before Rookyard received the ball with time and space to notch his second try.

The result was decided in a seven minute period beginning in the 58th minute with a burst of 17 points. Rob Jones, Matt Sishton and Holt linked to send Duggan away to the clubhouse corner for his second try. It quickly became a hat trick of tries for the centre from the restart when he scored in identical fashion but this time the assist was from Brett Taylor.

Then it was Duggan who turned provider. He made a midfield break from ruck possession to feed Rookyard who completed his hat trick under the posts. To ironic cheers, Holt added the only conversion of the afternoon despite the use of three different kickers.

To their credit Wednesbury hit back with a sustained period of pressure going into the last ten minutes only to see it end in an interception try. Duggan picked off a pass to race away over the halfway line. He fed Rookyard who then freed Holt on a run to the clubhouse corner.

Despite being down to 14 with Canning in the sin bin, Burntwood had the final say with a last minute try. A patient build-up was finished off by Rookyard who broke a tackle and stretched over the line for his fourth try.

Burntwood 2nds lost out to Stafford Development (away) 48-17 in a Staffs 2nd Team League fixture and the colts suffered a 41-19 defeat away to Malvern in their opening game in the North Mids Colts League.

This Saturday Burntwood travel to face Bloxwich and the 2nds host Leek 2nds, both league games with 3pm kick offs, while the colts welcome Ledbury for a league game on Sunday – kick off 2pm.