Burntwood RUFC moved up to second place in the table with their third bonus point win in three fixtures plus having a game in hand over the teams around them.
This contest provided some quality tries but also four red cards – two for each side – as moments of indiscipline proved costly particularly in the second half.
The visitors enjoyed the better of the first half territorially, making good use of their forwards, especially their two lock forwards who posed problems for Burntwood at the line outs.
The first threat came just four minutes in. A penalty kicked to the clubhouse corner set up a series of Bloxwich drives for the line which the hosts did well to hold up. They were awarded a penalty three minutes later from infront of the posts. With everyone expecting the opening score, the visitors’ kicker struck the ball well but narrowly wide.
However, Bloxwich got the try they deserved after ten minutes and, no surprise, it originated from a line out. They stole the Burntwood throw in but this time fed the backs. The inside centre cut back across the cover defence to stretch over near the left corner.
Bloxwich remained on top for much of the half, the hosts having to show strong defence against a prolonged spell of close range drives for their line.
It was not until the 37th minute that Burntwood ventured into the opposition 22 via a burst from Luke Rookyard. His pass went forward but his side were able to retain field position. Another run by the same player produced a penalty which Will Peach kicked for 3-5.
Against the run of play Burntwood found themselves 10-5 up at the break. A lengthy spell of injury time worked to their advantage when they took the ball at a scrum from a Bloxwich feed. Ben Holt made a penetrating run and fed Aza Dunet who fended off two tacklers down the left touchline for a try excellently converted by Peach.
It was at this stage that the first two red cards were shown. There was an altercation behind the posts between Burntwood touch judge Andy Macey and the Bloxwich No 13 and referee Owens sent both from the field.
It took Burntwood just two minutes of the second period to add to their lead. They ran a defensive kick back at the visitors, went through a couple of phases and Holt burst through the centre to cross under the posts unopposed. Peach converted.
Hal Gozukucuk was yellow carded at the restart for tackling a player in the air. During his absence the visitors reduced the arrears in familiar style. They won a line out in the right corner, worked the ball to the inside centre and he cut back across field again for his second try. A fine conversion made it 17-12 and game on.
However, the hosts survived further damage while down to 14 courtesy of sound tackling and then a superb clearance kick by Peach from his own 22 to the Bloxwich five metre line.
With Gozukucuk back on Burntwood quickly exploited their one man advantage. From a solid scrum the backs were able to run onto the ball at pace with Brett Taylor feeding Rob Jones for a score in the right corner. A great try deserved an excellent conversion and Peach duly obliged.
The change in fortunes seemed to affect the mood of the game and referee Owens lectured both sides more than once as the half wore on.
Burntwood went further ahead on 68 minutes following another good attack. Rob Jones cut in from the right on a diagonal run to earn a penalty which Peach kicked for 27-12.
Five minutes later Rookyard saw red for an act of retaliation. The visitors, now with parity in terms of numbers, forced the home side to defend deep in their own 22 but they couldn’t find a way through a determined Burntwood rearguard.
With normal time up, Bloxwich frustration showed when the No 6 was red carded for a headbutt.
Another prolonged period of added time gave the hosts the opportunity to go for a bonus point try and with the last play of the game they joyfully clinched it. Peach put them in good position with a penalty kick to the clubhouse corner. Then when he received possession from the line out he made a break before giving a reverse pass to Taylor who shot over the line for an excellent try, converted by Peach, to conclude what had become an unsavoury game.
This Saturday Burntwood face Willenhall across the board with the 1st (league) at Bognop Road and the 2nds and 3rds at home. The colts travel to Ashby on Sunday.
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