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Burntwood RUFC salvage two bonus points in defeat at Telford Hornets

Burntwood RUFC came back from 26-0 down to salvage two bonus points, but couldn’t quite complete a remarkable turnaround in fortunes at Telford Hornets.

The hosts clung on to their narrow lead in six minutes of added time during which Sean Latham’s side laid siege to the Telford try line. The hosts survived intense pressure to seal their win and leapfrog the visitors to top the table with two games to go.

With Stafford also winning, one league point separates the top three although Shrewsbury are still not out of the promotion race.

The home side were ahead as early as the 5th minute. After patient build up, the No. 8 injected pace from the base of a scrum and several close range drives later they were over in the left corner for an unconverted try.

Burntwood responded with a period of possession which produced two penalty goal attempts by Aza Dunet but both slipped right of the posts. When they kicked a third penalty award for the corner they failed to collect the line out throw in.

Telford were successful when they chose the line out option from a penalty award on 24 minutes. The forwards sucked the cover in before the ball was moved wide for a centre to shoot clean through a gap for a converted try.

Burntwood went through the phases from the restart but were turned over in the home 22. Telford worked their way downfield in a sustained attack before finally moving the ball wide for the right winger to dot down on 33 minutes. A fine conversion made it 19-0.

A sweeping attack from the kick off had the visitors in trouble immediately. They held out a five metre scrum but the ball was worked to the right winger again and he scrambled over the line at the second attempt for the bonus point try which was also converted.

Burntwood desperately needed a score before the break and they got it in time added on. Having worked their way into the home 22 they chose the scrum option at a penalty award. Replacement Ross Bedworth probed for a gap on the right before the ball was moved back left. Dunet went through and fed Josh Shepherd for a fine try, his first for the 1st XV. Dunet’s touchline conversion provided further encouragement for a better second half.

The visitors made a good start to the second period, helped by Telford conceding a couple of penalties. The second award was kicked to the left corner for a line out. Several phases later, Neil Holden wriggled his way over for a try five minutes in converted by Dunet.

Burntwood kept up their new found momentum from the restart. Skipper Latham was a prominent ball-carrier before Holden broke deep into opposition territory. Telford lost a player to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on. Then they lost a second player for another offence as Burntwood pressed.

From a tapped penalty, the ball was slipped to Bedworth who went over in the left corner. Dunet had now got his eye in and added the conversion for 26-21 and it was game on.

The hosts managed the clock well during their numerical disadvantage and even added a penalty goal to their tally by the time they were back to full strength. Another penalty goal went in off a post on 66 minutes to increase their lead to 11 points.

With ten minutes of normal time left, Josh Canning stole a Telford line out to launch his forwards on a drive for the line. When it was halted, Bedworth received possession for a carbon copy of his earlier score although this time Dunet’s conversion attempt was off target.

Twice Burntwood went on prolonged pick and go drives up to the Telford line in extra time only to infringe under the posts. However, the hosts also conceded penalties, one of which saw a Telford player banished for his second yellow card but his side held out till the final whistle and exhausted players and spectators alike retired to the clubhouse.

Burntwood 2nds went down to Telford 2nds at The Sportsway after a strong second half showing by the visitors.

Burntwood welcome Trentham for their final home game of the season this Saturday – kick off 3pm. The 2nd XV are TBA.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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