Burntwood RUFC continued their push for promotion with a hard fought win at a rejuvenated Harborne side.
After five minutes Burntwood were penalised for an offside at a ruck and Harborne kicked for a lineout close to the line. The resultant drive from the lineout stopped short but the ball was moved quickly for a try wide out on the left. An excellent kick brought the conversion and a seven point lead for the home side.
Burntwood stepped up a gear from the restart and pinned Harborne back into their own 22m area. A penalty was kicked to the corner but the resultant driving maul was judged to have crossed the dead ball line. From the resulting 22m drop out Harborne gathered possession only for a huge tackle from Sean Latham to halt their progress.
However, Rookyard regained possession on his own 22m line and ran through to the Harborne 22m line before feeding Neil Holden to score wide out on the left. Another excellent conversion from Aaron Dune’t levelled the scores.
From the restart Burntwood attacked Harborne through the middle of the park with Latham, Josh Canning and Pat Bayliss prominent in driving runs before releasing Rookyard for a clean break, with a feed to Holden for his second try, converted again by Dune’t.
Burntwood were penalised from the restart for pulling down a maul and a quick penalty resulted in Harborne scoring an unconverted try wide out on the right.
The visitors started the second half with a bang. Inter-passing by the forwards again gave Rookyard the space for a break, and from the resultant ruck on the Harborne line Ben Holt dived over for a try converted by Dune’t.
Changes in the three-quarters brought Billy Fisher on to the left wing where his pace and aggression nullified the threat of the pacy Harborne wide right players.
A series of half breaks and quickly recycled ruck ball resulted in Sean Latham adding the bonus point try which Dune’t duly converted. Both sides then lost cohesion until Dune’t added a long range penalty.
The game regained shape with the appearance of Graham Shelley in the back row. Lineouts were cleaner and there was an edge to the broken play. Only a series of errors from dropped balls and forward passes prevented further scores. But Harborne capitalised on these mistakes and they again moved the ball right for an unconverted try wide out.
With 10 minutes to go Burntwood were penalised for an offside and a quickly taken tap penalty resulted in the Harborne left wing scoring an unconverted try.
With time running out Burntwood were awarded a penalty for Harborne not releasing in a tackle. Ben Holt kicked to touch and a clean take by Shelley resulted in a drive to the line. When the ball emerged from the maul James Langford was on hand to score under the posts. Dune’t’s conversion made the final score 38-22 to Burntwood.