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Match report - 27th April

Match report - 27th April

Robert Forsyth29 Apr - 13:05
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Staffs Intermediate Trophy Final

Burntwood’s quest to retain the Lewis Taylor Trophy fell short by the narrowest of margins as they lost out to Newcastle (Staffs) by 35-34 in the final staged at Walsall RFC.
The two sides have met twice in league encounters this season with Newcastle taking the honours on both occasions although the winning margins were 7 points and 3 points respectively so another close game was anticipated and so it proved.
There was a real contrast in playing styles as Burntwood had the better of the forward exchanges whilst the Newcastle back division was potent in attack as they showed in the opening 14 minutes.
On eight minutes, a neat three-quarters’ move stretched play into the trophy holders’ 22. From a set scrum, a loop around by the outside half set up a try scored in the left corner which was superbly converted.
Burntwood’s first attack looked promising until it ended in a turnover and Kian Carter had to be alert to prevent a breakaway try. However, the Potteries side extended their lead with another good passing move out left then back right for a try in the corner.
The holders needed the next score and they got it on 20 minutes. Ben Holt kicked a penalty award to the right corner. Skipper Josh Canning took the line out throw and set up a drive which Luke Rookyard finished off for an unconverted try.
Back came Newcastle with their third try seven minutes later. They won line out possession near their own ten metre line, made a break in the centre and fed the ball out right for a try in the corner for a lead of 17-5.
Although they were leading, Newcastle were conceding penalties in their own half and eventually they lost their No. 10 to a yellow card after 35 minutes. Holt again found the right corner with the penalty and in a well-rehearsed move, Alfie Dewsbury caught the line out ball, returned it to Rookyard and he was in for his second try. Brett Taylor landed a fine conversion.
Four minutes later, Newcastle made it 24-12 by moving the ball well from line out possession for a try in the opposite corner and another fine conversion.
Carter saved his side before the break with another important tackle then Newcastle went down to 13 as their No. 8 joined his outside half in the sin bin. Burntwood took immediate advantage as Holt found touch deep in the opposition 22. The forwards tied in the defence and when the ball was moved wide, Billy Fisher provided the scoring pass to Carter to make it 24-17 at the break.
Burntwood had the better of the possession and territory early in the second period but a combination of solid defence and basic errors left them unrewarded. This was compounded when Newcastle extended their lead with a straightforward penalty goal followed by another well-worked try to put them 32-17 ahead after 52 minutes.
To their credit, Burntwood finished the stronger in the time remaining. They made gradual progress which led to another yellow card for a Newcastle player and a tap and go try for skipper Canning converted by Taylor on 64 minutes.
A penalty goal to the leaders at the restart left a deficit of 11 points to make up. Canning reduced it to six points with his second try, going over from close range with five minutes of normal time left.
Newcastle could have sealed their win, first with a penalty attempt which was wide of the target and then when Carter won the chase to a kick through to deny a clinching try.
In a prolonged spell of added time, Fisher broke from his own half which ended with Josh Massey being tackle into touch but the winger reduced the arrears to a single point when he finished off a sweeping move for a try in the left corner.
His side went through the phases from the restart but having progressed to the Newcastle 22 the referee ruled an inconclusive ruck and blew the final whistle.
So despite outscoring their opposition by six tries to five, the trophy headed north. However, the Burntwood club can still feel pleased with a season which has seen both senior sides achieve best ever finishes in their respective league campaigns, a regular third side taking the field and an ever-growing age group section.
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