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Burntwood RUFC lose out after dramatic finale against Newcastle

Burntwood RUFC endured a nailbiting finish for the second week running – but found themselves on the wrong end of the drama this time round.

Their Staffordshire Intermediate Cup semi-final against Newcastle came down to the last kick of the game as the side from the north of the county booked their place in the final for the third time in as many years.

Newcastle dominated the early exchanges and it took them just three minutes to score a well worked try in the left hand corner which was converted.

There was another blow for Burntwood when a head injury forced Ben Holt off the field meaning a backline reshuffle.

Newcastle missed a penalty before the home forwards exploded into life with a series of rucks and good passing to push their opponents back 40 metres, resulting in penalty which Sam Lloyd converted to make it 3 -7.

Having got out of the starting blocks and into the match, Burntwood gave a soft penalty away straight from the kick off. This was kicked into the corner and Newcastle scored an unconverted try from the lineout.

Again the Burntwood forwards made inroads into their opponents and a Luke Rookyard burst put Newcastle under pressure which resulted in a yellow card and two penalties. Skipper Latham decided to kick for touch and go for a try with Newcastle a man down. But both occasions were well defended.

Although both sides went close to scoring in the last five minutes, the half-time whistle came with Newcastle 12-3 in front.

The opening spell of the second period saw Burntwood slip to 17-3 down after another unconverted try in the corner.

Sean Brennan and Adam Black replaced Graham Shelley and Josh Canning 15 minutes into the second half. The change seemed to kickstart the action as Newcastle were forced to defend for long periods. With 17 minutes to go Lloyd kicked another penalty to close the gap to 6-17 and with more and more pressure another soon followed which Lloyd again converted.

Brett Taylor managed to dummy a pass and create a gap to score – which was converted – and bring Burntwood within a point of their opponents with five left on the clock.

Newcastle looked set to wrap up the win after breaking away, but pressure from Rob Jones led to the centre fumbling the ball over the line.

The game suddenly exploded into life late on after a double tackle on Sean Latham led to a red card with less than minute to go. Burntwood kicked for the corner and carved out a drop goal attempt from the line-out but the ball whistled just the wrong side of the post as Newcastle hung on for the win.

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