Burton under 7’s fell just short of victory for the second time in a fortnight at the Staffordshire festival hosted by Uttoxeter.
Burton were drawn in a pool with Stoke and Trentham. In their first match against Stoke Burton started very strongly running in 2 quick tries to reach half time 4-1 ahead. Stoke struck back in the second half but Burton held on and eventually ran out 7-3 winners.
In a 3 team pool every match was vital and Burton went on to the pitch against Trentham knowing that a win would guarantee them a place in the knock out stages of the Shield competition. Once again Burton started strongly and held a 3-2 lead into half time. They continued to pressure hard in the second half and eventually won 7-4.
The two victories put Burton top of the pool and earned them a quarter final match against Leek. The teams have not played each other before so both went into the game unsure of what to expect. What resulted was a very exciting and extremely tight game. The sides exchanged tries through the first half and went in level at 3-3 at half time. The second half was an exercise in tension (and stress!) for both sets of coaches and parents with no score for several minutes before Burton’s defensive pressure lead to a turnover and a breakaway try. There was great relief all round as the final whistle blew and Burton ran out 4-3 winners.
At the same time the heavens opened and the pitches were abandoned whilst everyone took shelter in their tents and gazebos (we managed over 30 people in ours – close to a tournament record but little consolation to those stuck outside in the hail!)
Once play restarted Burton faced local rivals Barton in the Semi-final.
The match flowed well with some great rugby from both sides despite the poor conditions under foot. After swapping tries Burton held a narrow 3-2 lead at half time and created a 2 try lead early in the second half. Despite this cushion Barton struck back well towards the end of the match and threatened to draw level until a last gasp turn around and breakaway from Burton gave them a 7-5 victory and a place in the final.
Burton faced another local rival in Lichfield in the final. The sides have met twice this season in friendlies and also at the Lichfield festival. In all three ties Burton have won hard and close fought fixtures. This match was no different with strong running and great tagging from both sides keeping the scores close through a first half that ended at 3-3. Lichfield started the second half strongly and a break away try and turn over try gave them a 5-3 lead with 2 minutes to go. The sides exchanged tries and then Burton won a turn over and ran in to bring the scores back to 6-5. Unfortunately the final whistle blew shortly after the try leaving an exhausted Burton team in the runners up spot
Despite the result Burton ‘Super 7’s’ have a great deal to be proud of. Unbeaten in friendlies through the season and runners up in consecutive tournaments their running, tagging, passing and support play has come on leaps and bounds this season and promises great things when they come back as the mighty 8’s in September.
[b]Burton Super 7's - Living the Dream![/b]
As a final word thanks must go to firstly the team at Uttoxeter and Kevin Dunn the festival organiser, they hosted a great festival and were extremely welcoming to all the teams that played!
The parents of the Burton team also deserve a mention – their support all season has been fantastic and despite wind, rain, hail and some of the least appropriate footwear ever to grace a rugby tournament their good humour and support kept the team going all season – thank you!