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Match reports - 20th-21st April

Match reports - 20th-21st April

Robert Forsyth23 Apr - 12:37
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Aspull 26 Burntwood 22

Both Burntwood senior sides went out of cup competitions last Saturday but on the plus side the first team are now free to play Newcastle (Staffs) in the Staffs Intermediate Trophy Final this Saturday.
For Josh Canning’s side it was a case of what might have been after travelling to Wigan to face Aspull in the 2nd Round of the Papa John Cup Competition. They had their chances to win but the hosts took the honours by 26-22.
The visitors were on top in the set scrummages throughout the game but couldn’t make their advantage tell whereas Aspull enjoyed the better of the line outs with three of their four tries originating from that source of first phase possession.
Burntwood’s first attack on seven minutes saw a promising move end in a knock-on but Sam Hull made amends shortly after with a kick return which ended with a penalty award. Brett Taylor kicked the goal for a three point lead.
Kian Carter kept his side on the front foot with a good run and kick chase from the restart. A scrappy line out was recovered for Tom Shorrock and Charles Michael to set up a ruck from which Hal Gozukucuk picked up and forced his way over for an unconverted try.
Aspull went through the phases but their first scoring opportunity was a penalty goal attempt on 22 minutes which slipped wide. On the half hour mark, turnover possession secured by skipper Canning set up another promising attack with Gozukucuk and Michael making ground through centre field. A penalty award was tapped but Taylor was halted close to the line and his support knocked the ball on.
This led to a rapid change of fortunes for Burntwood. The clearance kick was misfielded into touch and a quick line out on halfway caught them out to expose a two on one for a converted try close to the right corner.
The hosts followed this up with a neat backs move from line out ball on halfway. A well-taken try in the right corner was added to by a fine conversion and Aspull led 14-8 at the break.
Jack Robinson-Parr opened the second period with a weaving run from his own 22 into home territory to earn a penalty. From deep in the Aspull half, Burntwood engaged too early at a scrum and they were caught out again, this time by a quick tapped free kick. A clean break and a scoring pass plus another fine conversion from wide out made it 21-8 after 45 minutes.
Now it was Burntwood’s turn to score twice in quick succession to retake the lead. Carter kicked a penalty award to the corner. Aspull tried to disrupt the line out but the ball was re-gathered and moved wide for Billy Fisher to hit a good line and score a try converted by Taylor.
Four minutes later the visitors launched a great attack following a home error at their line out on halfway. Nearly the whole side was involved in moving possession left, right and back left for Fisher to cut inside, beat three defenders and touch down for his second try. Taylor’s conversion put his side ahead at 22-21 with 20 minutes left.
With 15 minutes left, they were hit by another breakaway try. The Burntwood pack was left puzzled by a penalty award against after dominating three set scrummages in the home 22. From the ensuing line out near halfway, the home backs clicked again to score a try in the corner.
Inside the last ten minutes, Carter again put his forwards deep into home territory with a penalty kick to the left corner. A first catch and drive attempt was held up and then knocked on. The forwards then drove Aspull off their own scrummage put-in to win possession but the ball ran loose for the hosts to break out from their own 5 metre line to Burntwood’s five metre line.
The hosts had a penalty goal chance with five minutes left but missed. Carter kicked his side downfield again but two lost line outs denied scoring opportunities. A final attack from a tapped penalty ended with a knock-on and the game finished with Aspull away again but the scoring pass was dropped.
Burntwood 2nds lost 69-0 to Tamworth 2nds at the CCE Sportsway in the Staffs Centenary Plate competition for lower XVs.
The visitors play a league level above Burntwood and they made it show. They denied a battling display by the hosts, with Louis Hanson to the fore, and chose their moments to compete at the breakdown and make use of their well-drilled three-quarters.
In their final home game of the season, Burntwood colts played their part in a hugely entertaining and competitive friendly fixture at home to Longton on Sunday. There was only a missed conversion in it as the visitors emerged 52-50 winners after the final scoreline went to a recount.
To end the playing season Josh Canning’s side will meet Newcastle (Staffs) for the third time, having lost the two previous league encounters by narrow margins. The venue is TBA. The colts will not be in attendance as they have a weekend tour to Weston-super-Mare to enjoy.
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