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Burntwood RUFC 30 Tamworth RUFC 12

The feelgood factor returned to The Sportsway after Burntwood defeated neighbours Tamworth for the first time in four starts.

The win in the Staffs Intermediate Cup Semis means they will now play their fourth final in nine seasons in this competition against either Handsworth or Wednesbury at Stafford Rugby Club on May 9.

Graham Shelley’s side seem to save their best for the cup competitions this season and this display proved no exception against opponents who are seven points clear of them in the same league table.

In front of a big turnout for both sides, the hosts made a good start with Ollie Whitehouse prompting his forwards into the visitors’ 22. Playing a penalty advantage, Matt Wood elected to take a drop goal attempt and made it to put his side threee points up in the fourth minute.

The keenness of the contest was indicated four minutes later with Tamworth driving Burntwood off their own scrum only for Burntwood to reply in kind at the very next set piece.

The hosts remained on top by hounding Tamworth when they were in possession and kicking for position when they had the ball. From a line out offence, Wood attempted a penalty from the left touchline but his kick slid to the right of the posts after 12 minutes.

Tamworth hit back after a dropped ball in the home 22 but they were driven into touch and then Wood relieved the pressure with a chip, catch and punt into the visitors’ half which set up the first try of the game.

Skipper Shelley almost crossed the line from a five metre scrum but, though held, he still managed to pop the ball to Whitehouse who touched down. Wood added a fine touchline conversion to make it 10-0 after 24 minutes.

A promising attack by Tamworth was ended when full back Ben Holt made an excellent mark from a dangerous kick and then cleared to the visitors’ 10 metre line.

However, Tamworth were not denied just three minutes later. With their pack driving towards the home line, the maul collapsed and referee Mark Liddell awarded a penalty try which was converted for 10-7.

This setback was short-lived as a good chase at the restart kick forced an error in the Tamworth 22. Burntwood won a scrum and this time Shelley stretched over for a try converted by Wood.

Burntwood stayed on attack up to the break and good continuity by the forwards set up an overlap for Holt to score in the right corner. Wood’s conversion attempt just fell short but his side seemed destined for the final at 22-7.

Tamworth’s task became even more difficult five minutes into the second period. They lost their No.8 to a straight red card for the use of his boot on a prone Lloyd Shelley.

Wood had the chance of three points five minutes later but fired left. However, this was quickly forgotten after 53 minutes with the try of the game.

Efficient re-cycling by prop forwards Martyn Smith and Mark Poole, a deft kick by Craig Seedhouse and a slick pass by Pete Reynolds set Seedhouse away for a try down the right touchline.

To their credit, Tamworth showed they were not finished and scored after a sustained attack in the corner with an hour gone. They went on to force Burntwood into a series of errors but they didn’t prove costly and it was left to Seedhouse to have the last say with a drop goal after 73 minutes to complete the scoring.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.