Burntwood RUFC suffer frustrating afternoon against Cleobury Mortimer

Burntwood RUFC slipped to seventh in the table after another frustrating outing against a Shropshire side.

Two weeks ago it was Clee Hill who were the thorn in Burntwood’d side, but this time it was newly-promoted Cleobury Mortimer.

Ben Holt tries to burst through a tackle. Pic: Joanne Gough

Ben Holt tries to burst through a tackle. Pic: Joanne Gough

Playing into a strong wind blowing in off Chasewater, the hosts made a good fist of the first half but much of their good work was undone by conceding too many penalties which saw the visitors finish 16 points up.

Ben Holt’s side opened the contest in determined fashion, helped by Darryl Organ turning possession over in the second minute. The attack reached the Cleobury try line but a penalty for holding on in the tackle prevented an early score.

The visitors went ahead five minutes later via a penalty kick from infront of the posts, the penalty count against Burntwood already beginning to mount.

The first scrum didn’t come until the 14th minute and when the hosts won it they launched Owen Rookyard on a run to the Cleobury 22 but his pass to Neil Holden wasn’t taken. Two minutes later and Holden was forced into touch after a promising attack, one of several in the period approaching the half hour.

In the 27th minute the visitors’ No. 12 was yellow carded for a no-arms tackle but during his absence it was his side which scored the points.

Rookyard was off target with a penalty attempt on 29 minutes but when Cleobury won a penalty on halfway they kicked for the clubhouse corner, won the line out and then drove over for a try which was converted.

Another penalty goal, which went in off both posts, was added before the carded player returned and then another successful kick was added close to the break. The half finished with the visitors threatening to score their second try but this time it was their turn to infringe.

Overturning a 16 point deficit was possible given the weather conditions and in the first minute of the second period Craig Seedhouse put over a drop goal to give his side hope. A second attempt seven minutes later just fell short.

Luke Rookyard tries to break away. Pic: Joanne Gough

Luke Rookyard tries to break away. Pic: Joanne Gough

However, Burntwood’s hopes suffered a self-inflicted blow on 51 minutes. When a visitors’ attack was forced into touch close to the home try line the danger seemed to be over but an overthrown line out was picked off at the tail for a gift try and conversion.

With the hosts needing to reply quickly they probably realised it was not going to be their day when a series of opportunities were squandered around the hour mark. Trying to emulate the first Cleobury try, they kicked a penalty award to the clubhouse corner. They won the line out only to lose control of the ball, as they drove for the line. Another penalty award to the hosts saw the ball roll dead from an attempted touch finder and then Holden agonisingly spilled the ball when an interception try was on.

It was not until the 64th minute that Burntwood gained reward. A scrum taken against the put in earned a penalty which was tapped quickly. Several thrusts later Seedhouse forced his way over for the try.

This proved to be the final score of the contest. Burntwood had chances to reduce the deficit but they made errors as they were forced to chase the game. The visitors’ defence was also impressive and they ran out deserved winners.

The 2nds lost their merit table fixture away to Shrewsbury 2nds 43-10, not helped by suffering a series of injuries during the game, but the colts won their league match at home to Old Halesonians on Sunday scoring 34 unanswered points.

This Saturday Burntwood travel to face Eccleshall for a league fixture whilst the 2nds entertain St Leonards in a club friendly. On Friday evening there is an outing for the veterans when they welcome Wednesbury Vets to The Sportsway. On Sunday the colts face table-toppers Malvern at home – 2pm kick-off.