Sat 2 Sep 2017, 15:00

Burntwood Rugby Club Limited
Trentham RFC
Burntwood 57 Trentham 7
Staffs Intermediate Trophy
Burntwood opened the new season with a comfortable win to progress to the semi-final of the Staffs Intermediate Trophy.
In perfect playing conditions and in front of a large crowd the hosts ran in eight tries including three from winger turned flanker Neil Holden. Aza Dunet also crossed for a try to add to his seven conversions and a penalty goal for a personal tally of 22 points.
Prior to the contest a minute’s applause was held to mark the passing of long-time Burntwood supporter John Prosser.
The first score went to Dunet who landed his penalty kick after seven minutes.
Seven minutes later scrum half Rob Jones made a break from a scrum 35 metres out to set his side on the attack. The ruck was won and slick passing wide left allowed winger Billy Fisher to race round unopposed for the first try of the season, converted by Dunet.
Despite limited resources on the bench, Trentham hit back strongly and it needed solid defence by the hosts to prevent an early reply.
Half an hour of the game passed before the next score. A great move by the three-quarters featuring Rory Newhall and Fisher took play from their own 22 to ten metres off the visitors’ line. Close quarter play followed before Ian Jones slipped a neat pass inside for Holden to race in for his first try of a productive afternoon. Dunet converted.
Close to the break and Holden was in for his second, profiting from a disrupted Trentham scrum close to their own line. Dunet’s conversion made it 24-0 at the turnaround.
Two minutes into the second period and Ben Holt started and finished a move which included Tom O’Brien and Fisher before Luke Rookyard delayed his pass perfectly to put Holt in. Dunet converted.
Holden almost completed his hat trick on 54 minutes following a break from replacement forward James Langford but the flanker was held up over the line.
It was Langford himself who extended the lead three minutes later. Line out possession was worked infield and Rookyard was the provider again. Dunet converted.
On the hour mark a superb drive by the forwards forced a penalty close to the Trentham line. From the line out option, Josh Canning rolled towards the line. When the ball was moved out Holt passed back inside to Holden who added his third try, converted by Dunet.
Trentham caught the home defence off guard for a converted try from a maul close to their own line on 66 minutes. Then it needed a fine tackle by Newhall to stop a Trentham player in full flight shortly after the restart.
Going into the last ten minutes, Holt found a good touch from a penalty award. Canning collected the put-in and his pack drove over the line for Rookyard to open his account for the season and notch his side’s half century.
A charged down kick almost let Trentham in for a consolation try on 75 minutes but the ball was knocked on much to Holt’s relief.
The best team try of the game came with three minutes left albeit with the visitors down to 14 players due to injury. Alan Mapp and Rookyard made ground from a line out on their own ten metre line. The backs ran on to the ball with Newall coming in at pace who then sent Dunet in for a try which he also converted from the touchline.
The 2nd XV took to the field for their first run out against a strong Tamworth outfit. They came off second best but highlights included a try for Craig Addy and a cameo performance from Cliff Prosser on an emotional day for himself and his family members on the touchline.
This Saturday Burntwood open their league campaigns with the visit of Uttoxeter for the 1st XV, a trip to Longton 2nds for the 2nd XV and the colts welcome Pinley – all with a 3 pm kick off. Post match there is a Last Night of the Proms celebration.