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Burntwood RUFC brush aside Edwardians to stay second

Burntwood RUFC won their first game at Edwardians in five seasons to remain second in the table.

Dan Garriety tries to brush off a tackle. Pic: Joanne Gough

Dan Garriety tries to brush off a tackle. Pic: Joanne Gough

A winless record of two draws and two defeats in the previous four seasons looked set to continue when the hosts led 15-13 close to the hour mark. However, Sean Latham’s side went on to score the points their adventurous play merited to win by five tries to two.

Promising play from the kick off by Edwardians ended in a knock on before Burntwood’s first threat saw Brett Taylor chip a ball through to the posts but the bounce eluded him.

Sam Lloyd put the first points on the board with a penalty goal after six minutes. A second attempt six minutes later from 35 metres went right of the target before Eds levelled the scores with a three pointer on 15 minutes.

Josh Canning slips past a tackler. Pic: Joanne Gough

Josh Canning slips past a tackler. Pic: Joanne Gough

The first try of the game went to the visitors on 21 minutes. A penalty award was kicked for a line out. Possession was driven on in midfield by Luke Rookyard before Dan Garrity made more progress down the right. With the home defence pulled out of position, the ball was swiftly moved back left for Rob Jones to benefit from the overlap to cross the line. The conversion struck a post and stayed out.

The Eds’ kicker also struck an upright with a penalty attempt shortly afterwards. When the ball rebounded into play, a missed clearance kick allowed the home fly half to kick across the field for the left winger to collect and score to bring the scores level again.

Garrity was also involved in the build up to Burntwood’s second try after 29 minutes. He made good ground from his kick and chase to force an infringement. A five metre catch and drive from the ensuing line out was finished off by Rookyard.

The visitors were now enjoying the better of the possession and territory. A dominant scrum drove Eds into their own 22 and Aza Dunet’s kick through had the opposition defending five metres off their own line. Taylor kept the pressure on which looked to have been rewarded right on the half time whistle. Pat Bayliss’s line out take set up a drive to the line but Rookyard was deemed to have lost possession as he crossed the whitewash to leave the score 13-8 at the break.

The miss looked costly when Eds scored just a minute into the second period. They recovered their own kick off to launch a replacement on a lightning break through the middle to score under the posts with barely a hand laid on him. The conversion put Eds two points ahead and memories of previous trips to the Memorial Ground surfaced.

However, Eds suffered a setback when their assistant coach became involved in a heated exchange with the match official after 44 minutes and was red carded.

Burntwood made early use of their replacement bench with Owen Rookyard and Josh Canning brought into the action but it was the home side which had the chance to extend their slender lead with a penalty kick. Fortunately for the visitors it was wide of the posts.

David Ward on the run. Pic: Joanne Gough

David Ward on the run. Pic: Joanne Gough

As play approached the hour mark Burntwood began to wear down the opposition defence. Owen Rookyard collected an Eds’ clearance kick to set up a good position. Taylor broke close to his forwards and was well supported by Jake Ranson, Sean Brennan and Jordan Anderson before the ball was returned to Taylor who dived over in the corner. Lloyd’s superb conversion took his side five points clear.

Rookyard and the livewire Taylor kept their side in opposition territory but it was Lloyd’s charge down of an Eds’ clearance kick which created the bonus point try. He hacked the ball on and the flying Garrity collected to score under the posts. Dunet converted.

The irrepressible Taylor continued to spur his side on by making a break from his own half deep into the Eds’ 22 but a sustained attack ended in a knock on.

With normal time almost up, Tom O’Brien seemed to have scored a contender for try of the season when he crossed in the corner after a sweeping move involving half the team but the joy was short-lived as the last pass was adjudged forward.

A series of penalty awards against the visitors provided Eds with the chance of a losing bonus point in time added on.

Scrambling defence kept them out before Ben Holt intercepted a pass to run the length of the field for the second time in two games to touch down. Dunet’s conversion brought proceedings to a close.

Burntwood 2nds entertained Burton 3rds in a club fixture and emerged victorious with Lloyd Shelley scoring four tries on his return to action. There was no fixture for the 3rd XV following Stafford 3rds cancellation.

This Saturday Burntwood welcome fourth placed Handsworth to The Sportsway for what is sure to be a tough encounter. Prior to the match there is a Patrons’ Lunch in the clubhouse from 12.30pm. The 2nd XV play away to Handsworth and the 3rds receive Shrewsbury 3rds. All kick offs revert to 2.15pm.

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