After going through the first half of their league season with a perfect winning record, Burntwood RUFC suffered their first reverse of the campaign.

The result not only keeps Graham Shelley’s men in second place but also keeps Newcastle in the promotion race a place behind.

The hosts were not able to dominate the forward battle as they have for the majority of the season. An aggressive Newcastle pack combined with solid defence and lightning pace on the wings carried the visitors to an important win.

Without the control up front, Burntwood made too many errors in trying to run the ball off the back foot. Two of Newcastle’s tries came from penalties conceded at scrums close to their own line.

The opening exchanges went Burntwood’s way as they moved the ball around in the visitors’ half but a turnover in the 22 cost them the first try after just eight minutes. The ball was kicked downfield and the 60 metre chase was easily won by the Newcastle winger who outpaced everyone to score.

A penalty goal, the second of two attempts, made it 8-0 and then the Burntwood defence which has been so tight all season, was pierced again before the 20th minute.

The hosts were under pressure at a scrum and conceded a penalty. A quick tap and Newcastle were in again, this time in the opposite corner.

Burntwood got off the mark with a try just before half time. Clean line out ball on halfway was moved to the backs. Matt Wood came into the line at pace to break to within ten metres of the try line. The ball was quickly rucked back for prop Tony Davies to touch down.

A barren spell of play for 25 minutes of the second period was broken by a Wood penalty goal to give his side hope of preserving their unbeaten run.

Newcastle missed with a penalty shot of their own going into the last ten  minutes but they sealed the win with a try three minutes from the end of normal time. A scrum infringement was punished with a converted try from a tapped penalty.

On the day Burntwood can have no complaints about the result. However, their cause was helped by Moseley Oak’s loss at Handsworth but they will need to bounce back away to Uttoxeter this Saturday (February 19) to keep the pressure on at the top.

Elsewhere next weekend, the development XV are away to Eccleshall 2nds and the veterans entertain Notts Moderns veterans at The Sportsway – kick off 2.30 pm.