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Burntwood RUFC lose out after dramatic finale at Shrewsbury

The lead swapped hands twice in stoppage time in a dramatic finale to this fixture but it was the home side which had the last word to leapfrog Burntwood in the table.

Shrewsbury have now won their last four games whilst Burntwood have lost their last three competitive matches by one score.

Each side dominated play when they had the slope and cold breeze in their favour. It was Shrewsbury’s turn first and they led at the break 13-3. The visitors didn’t help their cause by conceding a string of penalties early on.

Infringements for not releasing in the tackle twice and then being caught offside saw Burntwood retreating into their own 22, the final award being converted easily for a three point lead after five minutes.

Five minutes later Burntwood faced two five metre scrums after committing a handling error and then conceding another penalty. However, they managed to gain possession and skipper Ian Jones cleared.

The hosts kept them pinned in their own half but turnovers were costing both sides. Full back Ben Holt needed to be sharp in catching a high kick then evading the home chasers and finding a safe touch. However, from the line out, a penalty for handling on the ground in midfield saw the home kicker double his side’s lead.

With half an hour gone the hosts scored the first try of the match. A catch and drive made good ground before the ball was moved out to the backs. The stand off made a half break and then he fed his inside centre for a slickly taken try. The conversion made it 13-0.

Burntwood gave themselves encouragement by winning possession at the restart via Lloyd Shelley. Hal Gozukucuk drove the ball up to the home 22 for the first time and when Shrewsbury infringed, Aza Dune’t reduced the deficit with a well-struck penalty goal.

Back came the hosts but Burntwood defended well until the break to deny them any further scores.

The visitors quickly took advantage of the playing conditions in the second period via a big kick into opposition territory from Graham Shelley. It set up a well controlled drive finished off by a pass from Matt Sishton to the unmarked Rob Jones for an excellent team try in the left corner.

Unfortunately, just three minutes later, a kick out of defence only found the Shrewsbury right winger. He raced down the touchline, beating two tacklers, to put his side ten points up again.

Undeterred, Burntwood came back, playing at a high tempo but a Dune’t penalty attempt was left of the target and then another good attack came to nothing when they lost possession at a close range scrum.

Both sides became involved in a melee following a tip tackle on Graham Shelley. The tackler spent ten minutes in the sin bin and while he was off Burntwood took advantage.

They took play up to the home five metre line and after repeated attempts to drive over, the ball was popped out to replacement winger Ben Tranter who stood his man up beautifully before darting over in the corner to notch his debut try for the firsts.

A superb conversion from Dune’t made it a three point game and it stayed that way until stoppage time.

Burntwood looked to have clinched the win after taking a home put in at a scrum. They drove up to the five metre line and the hosts fell offside. Jones quickly tapped the ball to prop forward Anthony Davies and he squeezed over for a rare try for a 20-18 lead.

All the visitors had to do was see out time but a moment’s hesitation at the restart allowed Shrewsbury one last chance and they took it. They won a five metre line out and employed all fifteen players to drive over the line for the winning score. The missed conversion ended the contest.

While the defeat was a bitter blow for the visitors, they can take heart from the display of several of the youngest players. Craig Prosser, Elliott Tomlinson, Luke Rookyard and Jack Neal all carried the ball well and there was that debut try for Tranter.

Burntwood play their re-arranged league match at Yardley and District this Saturday, the original fixture having been postponed at the end of December. The 2nds and Development XV are TBA.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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