Burntwood RUFC ease past Uttoxeter with eight tries

Burntwood RUFC ran in eight converted tries without reply to open the new season in fine style at The Sportsway.

They now join Handsworth, Newcastle (Staffs) and Willenhall in the hat for the semi-finals of the Staffs Intermediate Trophy.

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

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

There was added interest in this quarter final tie as it brought the hosts face to face with former head coach Graham MacDonald’s Uttoxeter side which he guided to promotion and the final of the Owen Cup last season. 

The first half only yielded two of the converted tries but four more followed in the third quarter before two more carried Burntwood over the half century.

The visitors had the first opportunity to score with a penalty attempt after six minutes but the ball went just wide of the target.

Burntwood’s first sustained attack three minutes later ended disappointingly in a penalty against them which allowed Uttoxeter to clear. However, a penalty award in their favour on 16 minutes led to the first score. 

They went for the kick to the corner for a line out which Sean Brennan won. The rolling maul was set up and finished off by Luke Rookyard. Sam Lloyd added an excellent touchline conversion.

Neil Holden breaks away with the ball. Pic: Joanne Gough

Neil Holden breaks away with the ball. Pic: Joanne Gough

Line out possession also led to the second score on 24 minutes. This time the backs saw the ball and a well-worked move released Owen Rookyard on a run to the posts. He was brought down just short of the line but skipper Sean Latham followed up to dive over for the try. Aza Dunet converted.

Buoyed by these scores, Burntwood were a little over-eager at times and two further scoring opportunities were lost when they couldn’t capitalise on great breaks by Luke Rookyard and Neil Holden.

Uttoxeter’s best moments came once Brett Taylor was sin-binned by referee Sarah Toll for an offence at a ruck. First, a handling error was fly-hacked all the way to the home line but Dunet won the chase for the loose ball. Then an interception on half way looked a certain score but this time Owen Rookyard rescued his side by outpacing his opposite number to clear the danger.

Once Taylor was back on early in the second period the hosts cut loose to better effect. A prolonged attack by forwards and backs saw a well-timed pass put Ben Holt away for the third try which Dunet converted on 44 minutes.

Three minutes later Owen Rookyard went close to the line before Josh Canning dived over for the next try, superbly converted into the strong wind by Lloyd.

On 55 minutes Taylor made amends for his earlier misdemeanour with a fine individual try, dummying his way clear from the base of a scrum 30 metres out and touching down at the base of a post. Dunet converted.

Two minutes later Lloyd kicked into space in the visitors’ 22. The bounce eluded Taylor but Lloyd was able to collect his own kick for the try which Dunet converted.

On 65 minutes after a period of pick and go runs by the forwards took play close to the visitor’s line, Luke Rookyard picked a good line to score his second try, converted by Lloyd.

The final try came with three minutes left when Canning made it a brace as Uttoxeter ran out of cover. Dunet added his fifth conversion.

The 2nd XV also enjoyed a try fest at home to Uttoxeter. The visitors arrived under strength but some mixing and matching allowed a game to take place which the hosts won 69-12. 

This Saturday Burntwood begin their league campaign with a short trip to fellow semi-finalists Willenhall. The second teams of both clubs meet at The Sportsway and the 3rd XV have their first outing at home to Rugeley 2nds. All kick offs are 3pm.