Burntwood RUFC beaten on the road at Cleobury Mortimer

Burntwood RUFC endured another fruitless contest against Shropshire opposition as they went down at Cleobury Mortimer.

After a promising half hour when they should have scored at least one try, possibly two, the visitors conceded three tries in the ten minute period up to half time and their hosts never looked back.

Alan Mapp tries to burst through a tackle. Pic: Joanne Gough

Alan Mapp tries to burst through a tackle. Pic: Joanne Gough

The first chance went to Neil Holden. Facing the last defender he chose to chip and chase rather than back himself with ball in hand but the ball ran dead. Then Tony Davies failed to find skipper Ben Holt with a pass which would have put him away.

The third opportunity came from turnover possession on halfway. Holt sped towards the right corner but a last ditch tackle brought him down close to the line. It set up a sustained attack which only ended with a penalty against Burntwood five metres out.

During this opening half hour, the hosts had opened the scoring with a penalty goal.

It needed a great cover tackle from Lloyd Dunet to thwart the first try-scoring threat from the hosts but they were rewarded shortly after. A tap and go penalty on the visitors’ 22 was moved left and the winger rolled over in the corner. A fine conversion made it 10-0.

Their second try followed a re-set scrum. A break in midfield was well supported for a converted try. Their third converted try originated from a catch and drive in the left corner. A pass infield exposed a lack of cover as the visitors’ pack was drawn in to resist the drive.

Neil Holden goes over for a Burntwood try. Pic: Joanne Gough

Neil Holden goes over for a Burntwood try. Pic: Joanne Gough

Burntwood did get off the mark before the half time whistle. Holden’s strong tackle won turnover possession. Dave Ward’s burst forced a penalty award which Aza Dunet goaled from 35 metres.

The visitors used the last of their replacements early in the second period having lost injured forwards Sean Brennan, Jake Ranson and Pat Bayliss to be replaced by Josh Canning, Brad Holmes and Tom O’Brien. To compound their problems re-organising, Ward was yellow carded after a series of collapsed scrums.

Cleobury were quick to take advantage with a bonus point try and conversion from a quickly taken tapped penalty.

To their credit, Burntwood responded with a good spell of play which reduced the deficit. Lloyd Dunet took play into the home 22 and when the ball was moved left Holden, who impressed all game, crossed the line. Aza Dunet added a good conversion from wide out.

The final quarter of the game belonged to the hosts as Burntwood ran out of steam. Cleobury ran in four tries, two of them from Burntwood errors, and converted three of them to keep the pressure on the teams at the top of the table.

There was no joy for the seconds either as they hosted Stafford Development. The visitors are second in the merit table and ran out winners 44-5.

Most of the damage was done in the first half but Burntwood could take heart from a much improved second half performance which saw the introduction of several colts players who all acquitted themselves well.

This Saturday (February 20), which is Sponsors’ Day at The Sportsway, Burntwood welcome Eccleshall for a league fixture. The 2nds are also at home with the visit of Walsall 3rds for a merit table fixture – both kick offs are 2.15pm.