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Comeback kings strike again as Burntwood RUFC rescue victory

The comeback kings were at it once more as Burntwood again rescued victory.

Having salvaged a draw from 19-3 down at Edwardians a week earlier, the hosts turned a 20-3 deficit at Handsworth into a bonus point win at The Sportsway as the sides shared eight tries.

The wind blowing diagonally across the pitch towards the clubhouse corner was a factor in the game but so too was the kicking of Will Peach. While the visitors drew a blank from the tee, Peach landed two penalties, a conversion and a drop goal for good measure.

Handsworth had their first place kick as early as the fifth minute, given for holding on in the tackle, but the attempt was scuffed to the left of the posts.

They went close to a try just two minutes later having stolen the ball at a ruck, an event which happened all too often in the first half for the comfort of the home coaching team. A centre sliced towards the posts but his offload was adjudged forward.

No matter, Burntwood infringed at the scrum and a quick tapped penalty saw the visitors open the scoring with their first try.

The second followed on 14 minutes. A strong run through the centre and then out to the wing proved too good for some rather weak home tackling.

The hosts, playing into the wind, responded well. A drive by Danny Poole into Handsworth territory drew two penalty awards. Peach kicked for goal on the second but his attempt was blown back from the target to deny a score.

Handsworth were in again after 21 minutes. They moved the ball well to their left winger and he streaked down the touchline for a try in the clubhouse corner.

Back came Burntwood again, driving the ball close to the pack to earn another penalty. This time Peach drilled his kick over to make it 3-15.

Five minutes from half time the visitors secured a try bonus point when a loose kick was run back by the left winger. He set up a move to the right and the touch down was in the corner.

Burntwood needed a reply before the break to give themselves any hope and crucially it came. A burst by Jack Neal took play into the Handsworth half. From a penalty award Peach kicked to the corner. A Burntwood catch and drive was close but only produced a scrum.

After Graham Shelley was twice held up over the line, he was successful with his third attempt to narrow the deficit. Peach didn’t convert but the visitors were down to 14 with a player yellow carded.

An early penalty attempt in the second period by Handsworth was wide again before Burntwood’s pack got to work. They were dominant in the scrums and driving mauls so penalty awards were kicked to the corners.

After 52 minutes skipper Ian Jones dived over from behind a driving scrum for a try to make it 13-20.

Seven minutes later a catch and drive from a line out in the bottom corner led to a try for Neal to edge the home side even closer.

When Peach kicked to the clubhouse corner, Shelley stole the line out just past the hour mark to send Danny Poole close to the line. Handsworth seemed to have escaped from a series of close range attacks but when the ball was finally moved wide, Peach slotted a fine drop goal from 30 metres to put his side ahead.

With ten minutes to go, another Peach touchfinder set up good field position. Shelley maintained his dominance of the line out to set up drives towards the posts by Luke Rookyard, Neal and Poole junior. When the backs moved the ball back left Craig Seedhouse supplied a neat pass for Ben Holt to score in the corner. Peach converted from the touchline to put Burntwood two scores in front.

A good tackle was needed to halt the Handsworth right winger with five minutes left before Danny Poole made a break across halfway to earn another penalty which Peach kicked for the final score of the afternoon.

The match ended with the visitors pressing but a knock on ended this proverbial game of two halves.

Burntwood travel to Market Drayton this Saturday for their next league fixture. There is coach travel provided for players and spectators. The A XV host Walsall 3rds for a merit table game and the Development Squad visit Willenhall 3rds for a club fixture.

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