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Dunlop RUFC 25 Burntwood RUFC 6

Mark Partridge in action for Burntwood RUFC. Pic: Joanne Kerry

Mark Partridge in action for Burntwood RUFC. Pic: Joanne Gough

Dunlop scored two tries and a conversion in the last ten minutes to seal their place in the Midlands final of the RFU Senior Vase.

Until the latter stages, Burntwood were in with a chance of a shock win over the unbeaten leaders of Midlands 3 West South. Graham Shelley’s men were more than a match for the hosts in the scrums and loose play but were second best in the line out. On a gooey pitch, which deteriorated as the game went on, they struggled to make line breaks but had enough penalty chances to stay in contention.

The first moral victory came as early as the fourth minute when Burntwood took a Dunlop put-in at a scrum but the first points of the match came five minutes later with a home penalty kick from 30 metres.

Burntwood regained possession from the restart but lost the ball in midfield. Dunlop capitalised with a quick burst through the centre to earn a penalty to put them 6 points up after just 11 minutes and no doubt sensing another comfortable win in a high-scoring season.

However, the visitors battled their way into the game based on solid scrummaging and some accurate kicking for position by Liam Lloyd and Matt Wood. A series of pick and drives on the half hour won a penalty 40 metres out but Craig Seedhouse sent his kick left of the posts.

Four minutes later, Burntwood won a line out in the home 22 following a fine line kick by Wood but the greasy ball was dropped in the backs and the danger was cleared. This proved even more costly just a minute later as Burntwood twice infringed to allow Dunlop to kick into the visitors’ 22. They worked line out possession to midfield and then back out to their left winger who outflanked the defence to score. A superb touchline conversion made it 13-0.

With a minute of the half to go, the home side conceded a penalty for a scrum offence but Wood slid his kick left of the posts. Then skipper Shelley denied Dunlop as they counter attacked from deep.

Five minutes into the second period Dunlop lost a player to the sin bin and Burntwood replaced Martyn Smith and Liam Lloyd with Rob Cartwright and Dave Peplow. A minute later and Burntwood were off the mark with a Wood penalty.

A great tackle by Sam Wanty stopped his winger from making a quick reply and then a turnover in  midfield saw Mark Partridge and Pete Reynolds steaming through the centre to the home 22. Another scrummage offence presented Wood with a penalty which he kicked to make it 13-6.

He was just off target with a difficult kick from the left touchline on the hour mark, Seedhouse having gained the position with a good punt down the wing.

Pete Reynolds in action for Burntwood RUFC. Pic: Joanne Kerry

Pete Reynolds in action for Burntwood RUFC. Pic: Joanne Gough

Burntwood continued to threaten but were caught accidentally offside at a catch and drive in the home 22. They had a narrow escape after 65 minutes when a Dunlop kick out of defence was missed and the home left winger was away. He was chased down by Wood and Lloyd Shelley and Wanty cleared the danger in his own 22.

Burntwood conceded two penalties in quick succession after 73 minutes to see them pinned in their own 5 metre area. Dunlop had several drives at the line then the outside half kicked wide right to find his winger all alone to collect and touch down for a well-taken try.

With two minutes of normal time left, Dunlop stole possession at a Burntwood line out and controlled a series of drives before powering over for the final try which was converted. With the result decided the rest of the game petered out in muddy midfield to see Dunlop progress to the final and Burntwood beaten but unbowed.

Elsewhere, Burntwood Development XV went down at home to Walsall 3rds in a Merit Table game 53-10.

This Saturday (March 6) Burntwood face Newcastle (Staffs) with the 1sts (league) and 3rds at home and the Development XV away. On March 10 the 1sts
welcome Tamworth for their Staffs Intermediate Cup semi-final.

On Sunday morning (March 7) the U17s (H), U16s (A) and U14s (H) all face Wolverhampton and the U15s and U13s both host Eccleshall.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.


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