Mon 11 Sep 2017 01:14

Burntwood Rugby Club Limited
Sat 9 Sep 2017

Uttoxeter RFC
Despite several enforced changes to their line-up, Burntwood survived a tough examination to begin their league campaign with a win.
Uttoxeter improved greatly during the course of last season and looked to have maintained this trend as they dominated the first half of the match. However, the home defence withstood most of the pressure to keep themselves in the game at 10-6 down.
The result was in doubt right up to the final whistle with both sides having scored two tries apiece but some missed place kicks by the visitors saw the hosts edge home by a solitary point.
Uttoxeter spent the opening ten minutes deep in home territory but the defensive line held with notable contributions from Neil Holden and Rory Newall.
Ben Holt relieved the siege with a penalty kick up to the opposition 22 but the line out was lost and the visitors were soon knocking on the door again.
Full back Newall was called into action again with a solid tackle to prevent a try but his follow up players infringed and Uttoxeter went ahead with a penalty goal.
Burntwood responded immediately courtesy of a penalty at the restart and then a second one on the visitors’ 22 which Aza Dunet stroked between the posts to level the scores on 19 minutes.
Back came Uttoxeter three minutes later. They worked a neat move from a line out on the home ten metre line to free their speedy left winger from the blind side. He raced to the left corner and a fine conversion made it 10-3.
Another fine tackle by Newall reflected the balance of play but Uttoxeter failed to add to their lead when a penalty attempt slid left of the target.
Patient build up play by the hosts earned a penalty of their own which Dunet converted from the 22 after 34 minutes. At this point Dan Black and Ben Holt were replaced by skipper Sean Latham and Nick Peplow.
The half ended with the visitors still in the home half but their only scoring opportunity was a missed penalty kick from 25 metres out.
It only took three minutes of the second period for Burntwood to move into the lead for the first time. Phase play took them close to the visitors’ line and Holden and Adam Black both went close before Luke Rookyard barged his way over for a try.
Uttoxeter went down to 14 players due to a sin-binning at the kick off when Pat Bayliss was taken out in the air but it was they who regained the lead with a well struck penalty from 40 metres. Then a second chance from a similar position went left of the target on 50 minutes.
Four minutes later Dunet edged Burntwood ahead following a scrummage offence and his side looked to be the more likely winners. A good kick chase had the visitors in trouble in their own 22. Alan Mapp, who impressed throughout, almost crossed. A five metre scrum followed but with the carded player back on the field the visitors were able to clear.
It proved only a temporary respite as determined drives by Bayliss and Rookyard engineered a gap for Holden to burst through. He beat the full back for a try by the posts which Dunet converted on 63 minutes.
Uttoxeter missed another penalty attempt before good driving play by Latham and Mapp won a penalty for Burntwood but Dunet’s kick glanced wide off a post.
The visitors were pinned in their own 22 as the contest entered the 80th minute but adventurous play from a line out led to a superb length of the field try. The successful conversion made it a one point game with five added minutes left.
Burntwood had the chance to play out time following a penalty award kicked to the visitors’ 22 but the line out was missed. Then Uttoxeter forced a line out on the home 22 only for the throw-in to be crooked and Latham was able to collect from the ensuing scrum and kick to touch to secure the win.
The 2nd XV found Longton 2nd team’s back division too strong in their away fixture and the colts went down 37-22 at home to Pinley in their first league match.
The 1st XV have no game this Saturday so attention turns to the 2nd XV who host Wednesbury in a club fixture whilst the colts travel to face Tamworth.

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