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Ashbourne RUFC 18 Burntwood RUFC 3

Both sides took unbeaten starts to the season into this RFU Midlands Senior Vase cup tie so something had to give – and it was Graham Shelley’s men who had to surrender their proud record to miss out on a place in the quarter finals.

The home side have responded well to their relegation from Level 7 last season. They were well-organised, enjoyed the better possession and knew how to use the big pitch to their advantage.

To their credit, Burntwood didn’t go down without a fight. Although they fought a largely rearguard action with some heroic tackling, they had their moments in attack but there were no arguments about the outcome.

The hosts played down the slope in the first half and quickly had the visitors pinned in their own 22. When Burntwood did gain possession, they chose to run the ball out but a dropped pass infront of their own posts didn’t help their cause.

Tom Restall made one try-saving tackle to keep the game scoreless but not for long. A poor drop out saw Ashbourne collect and keep the ball alive through several hands for a try in the corner.

Things looked ominous for Burntwood but they showed some promise in a move which took them up to the home 22. However, the position was lost with an offence at a scrum.

Centres Craig Seedhouse and Matt Sishton were superb in defence but even they couldn’t prevent the second try scored after 26 minutes. Ashbourne moved the ball out from a scrum close to the posts. Burntwood infringed and a quickly taken tap penalty by a wing forward saw him crash over.

Burntwood enjoyed their best spell of attacking play in the ten minutes leading up to half time. They tried to cross via a series of tapped penalties but eventually they resorted to Seedhouse putting over a drop goal to get his side off the mark.

At 10-3, having weathered almost constant pressure and with the slope now in their favour, Burntwood felt they were not out of the tie but Ashbourne continued to dominate after the restart. A rolling maul from a line out set up the home scrum half on a break for the line but Matt Wood stopped the score.

Burntwood struggled to clear their lines and with the hosts in control of the line outs the pressure continued. They were fortunate not to fall further behind five minutes in. A seemingly good try was disallowed for not straight at a line out. Three minutes later a penalty goal proved some reward for Ashbourne.

A Burntwood counter attack moved play all the way to the home five metre line but Ashbourne took the line out to break downfield. Another Wood try-saver five metres off his own line stopped the score but he held on in the tackle and was yellow carded.

It took five minutes for Ashbourne to capitalise and seal their win on the hour mark. They had good possession in the visitors’ 22, won a couple of rucks and moved the ball wide to send a winger in unopposed.

They nearly went further ahead but knocked on after a kick in behind the Burntwood defence.

However, Burntwood had the last chance to score, mounting their best attack of the match with five minutes left. The ball was moved well to give winger Dan Garrity a run at the line but he was chased down.

Burntwood play their first match at home for a month on Saturday (November 13), reverting to league action with the visit of Uttoxeter. The 2nds are also at home with Stoke Devs as the visitors. The 3rds are away to Bloxwich 2nds. All kick offs are now 2.30pm.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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