Mon 02 Oct 2017 01:29

Burntwood Rugby Club Limited
Sat 30 Sep 2017

Willenhall RFC Ltd
Burntwood moved into a three-way share of the lead in M3WN after going unbeaten through September.
Resplendent in their new playing strip, they had to come from behind to make it three wins from three in the league to add to their win in the Staffs Intermediate Trophy.
In wet and windy conditions, the hosts made a good start to the contest with Danny Poole, Rory Newall and Neil Holden taking play up to the visitors’ 22 from the kick off. An early penalty award kicked to the corner led to a second penalty but Aza Dunet’s kick at goal slid right of the target.
The Willenhall No. 10 was yellow carded after just seven minutes but it was his side which came into the game via their robust set of forwards who exerted themselves in the set pieces to set up camp in the home 22.
The pressure told when Poole was yellow carded and then a close range scrum was adjudged to have been pulled down which saw Willenhall go seven points up courtesy of a penalty try on 19 minutes.
An early reply looked possible when Newall ran well up to the opposition 22. Luke Rookyard charged on but he couldn’t find his support with the offload.
The Willenhall forwards made ground again on 24 minutes. Not surprisingly, they opted for a scrum when the hosts infringed. Possession was moved to the backs but a missed pass cost them a possible try.
Burntwood scored their first points on the half hour mark. The three quarters linked well before Ian Jones probed in midfield. From the resulting ruck, Holden continued his early season scoring spree by bursting through and over from ten metres for a try.
Poole returned to the action only for Holden to take his place on the sideline for ten minutes. Willenhall took advantage of his temporary absence with a series of close range drives by their forwards, the last of which was a well-controlled pushover try from a scrum. The easy conversion made it 5-14.
However, the reply was immediate. Poole caught the restart kick and ran straight through to the line for a try which was converted from wide out by Dunet to make it 12-14 at the break, both Burntwood tries having been scored when they were down to 14 players.
With Holden back on Sean Latham’s side began the second period at pace. Dunet curled a penalty kick the wrong side of the post before Rookyard made a storming run from his own 22 deep into the opposition half to earn a penalty.
Ben Holt kicked for the right corner, Liam Latham won the line out but the ball was knocked on in the backs.
Willenhall threatened again before Burntwood finally went ahead in the 57th minute. Billy Fisher and Josh Canning counter attacked after receiving a Willenhall kick. Poole stormed his way into the 22 to set up a ruck. When the ball was moved right, Rookyard supplied a delayed pass to send Newall in for the try.
Burntwood stepped up a gear and quickly increased their advantage just four minutes later. Holt’s kick to the clubhouse corner produced line out possession which was moved right and then back left for skipper Latham to go over from close range for the bonus point try.
Willenhall tried to hit back but Latham and Holden combined to turn possession over before Rookyard and Alan Mapp led a break out to clear the danger.
The home scrum had recovered to hold its own in the scrummages to the extent that they won a penalty on 76 minutes which Dunet goaled from the 22.
With time almost up Willenhall had the chance of claiming a losing bonus point with a kick into the home 22 for a line out but Latham stole possession to leave the visitors empty-handed.
The 2nds performed creditably well away to Stoke Development before losing out 17-14 after the hosts scored a late penalty goal to clinch the win.
There is no fixture for the 1st XV his weekend. The seconds are TBA, the 3rds are due to host Stafford and the colts travel to Wolverhampton.

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