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Burntwood RUFC 11 Wednesbury RUFC 0

Burntwood lifted the Lewis Taylor Trophy for the third time in nine seasons and fittingly it was the game’s only try scorer, skipper Graham Shelley, who did the honours.

The game itself proved disappointing in terms of quality rugby but with the teams only separated by a solitary penalty goal going into the last 10 minutes of playing time it proved a typically tense finale to the occasion.

Shelley’s side may have beaten Wednesbury twice in the league during the season but the men from the Black Country showed they were up for the cup by dominating the opening 15 minutes.

It needed a try-saving tackle by Matt Wood as early as the third minute to deny Wednesbury. His side then had to defend deep in their own 22 to keep the game scoreless. The sustained attack finally ended with a failed drop goal attempt.

Burntwood eventually broke the siege and thought they had scored in their first attack on 21 minutes.

Scrum half Ollie Whitehouse broke from a midfield scrum. He fed winger Matt Sishton who fed back inside for full back Ben Holt to “score” but referee Dave Huson ruled that the last pass was forward.

Three minutes later Lloyd Shelley’s drive ended with a Wednesbury infringement and Wood had his first pot at goal from the 10 metre line. He struck it well but was just off target.

Whitehouse kept Burntwood in the Wednesbury 22 with a fine return kick from the drop out. Wood was presented with another penalty from a similar position to the first one but again his kick slipped wide of the posts.

Craig Seedhouse missed with a drop goal effort as Burntwood tried to capitalise on their territorial advantage and then in the 35th minute his side missed a golden opportunity to take the lead.

Lloyd Shelley’s clean line out take and feed had his forwards charging at the posts. Wednesbury not only conceded a penalty but lost their captain and full back to the sin bin. However, Wood snatched his kick wide of the target.

Wednesbury kicker Andrew Field had his first shot at goal just 2 minutes later after Seedhouse deliberately knocked on but he also missed with a difficult attempt.

Matt Bray almost broke through cutting in from the wing only to lose possession and then Field had another penalty kick following a high tackle but he was well right of the posts.

After a scoreless first half, Burntwood finally went 3 points up just a minute into the second period. Whitehouse’s tap and go got his side into the opposition half. Skipper Shelley was up in support and earned a penalty which Wood converted from near the 10 metre line.

A hectic 10 minutes followed with Burntwood trying to build on their slender advantage only for Wednesbury to hit back but failing to get back on level terms with a missed drop goal effort. Tom Restall was prominent in defence with a series of big tackles.

The next chance went to Burntwood. Lloyd Shelley charged a kick down and broke away into opposition territory. He should have backed his pace but chose to chip left but the bounce of the ball evaded players following up.

The Burntwood forwards provided a good supply of possession through a solid scrum and a fair share of line out ball to keep them going forward. Seedhouse and Wood began to find their range with cross kicks and touch finders but another score was vital. It almost came from Holt but he was bundled into touch down the right wing after 34 minutes.

However, four minutes later came the decisive moment. Seedhouse’s deep kick forced a hurried clearance which only found Shelley on the right touchline. He charged infield and fended off a tackle to cross the line.

Even then, referee Huson consulted his touch judge about the grounding but after a nervous few moments the try was awarded.

Two minutes into stoppage time, another Shelley drive was halted illegally and Wood forgot his earlier misses to drill a fine kick over from 30 metres to seal the win.

Restall’s break from the restart kept Wednesbury pinned in their own half and when they did gain possession, more solid tackling stopped a breakaway try.

With eight minutes of stoppage time gone, Wednesbury infringed and Wood was able to boot the ball into the happy band of Burntwood supporters to begin the celebrations.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.