On Sunday a warm, bright but windy afternoon at Cooke Fields, Lichfield, in front of a very large crowd Burton ended their season by winning the Staffordshire Cup for the third time after being made to fight extremely hard by a determined Tamworth side, who were more than up for the fight.
Burton played into a strong wind in bright conditions at Cooke Fields, Lichfield. Tamworth received the kick-off but Burton managed to turn the ball over and then string together some phases with carries from Matt Tivey
, Jono Edwards and Craig Dutton
before being awarded a penalty. But the normally reliable Dave Archer
was unable to find the target. The game ebbed and flowed for the next fifteen minutes as neither side gained supremacy. Burton however were making hard work of the afternoon for themselves by getting turned over at the breakdown by a powerful set of Tamworth forwards. Lewis Brooks
and Danny Smith
both made promising breaks but the moves could not be continued, again due to turnovers.
After 18 minutes, Burton were awarded a penalty from a scrummage. Dave Archer
, Josh Cartwright
and Nathan Taylor
made ground before another penalty was awarded to Burton. Luke Peach
put the ball into the corner and from the ensuing driving maul Taylor emerged with the ball and touched down to open the scoring. Ed Henry
ran the kick-off back 35 meters, but instead of staying on his feet went to floor too early and once again Tamworth produced a turnover. Tamworth then applied pressure for a number of minutes before spilling the ball in midfield which was caused by great defensive work from the Burton team. Brooks picked up on the spilled possession and raced forward, fly hacking twice, before Danny Smith
then took over and hacked the ball twice before touching down for a try, as both players demonstrated their footballing skills!
Undeterred by falling behind Tamworth battled away and enjoyed the better of territory. Tamworth were awarded a penalty, to the whole crowd’s disbelief, for Burton driving up in the scrum, and kicked for corner. Burton collapsed the driving maul and again Tamworth went for the corner rather than kick for goal. Burton held the drive and Tamworth then linked several phases together before Henry got the turn over close to the line. Dutton barged his was to the 22 to relieve the pressure. Tamworth pressed again and their backs spun the ball wide before a grubber kick into the corner gave them chance to pressure the Burton line out. Cartwright took the ball and Burton drove up to the twenty two before releasing their backs who were grateful for a chance to run, however disaster struck and a stray pass from Sam Smith
was seized upon by the Tamworth left wing who crossed for a try in the corner, instead of what had looked a probable try the other end if the pass had gone to hand. A beautifully struck conversion made the score 10-7 in Burton’s favour and there was no further score in the final five minutes of the half.
Early on in the second half Ben Peach
, Dutton and Edwards made ground before the ball was spilled in midfield. Burton put the pressure on the in the scrummage and appeared to be gaining the upper hand in this department, but unfortunately were some strange decisions meant they were not allowed to take advantage of this facet of play, much to the disappointment of the Burton crowd. Tamworth ran the ball and great tackles from Tom Murphy
and Ken Archer
were needed to keep them in their own half. Tamworth were finally adjudged to infringe at a breakdown, but Dave Archer
fell short with the penalty attempt from 10 metre line. Moments later Archer got another chance from a similar distance and this time sent it straight between the posts. Dave Archer
caught the kick off, gathered his own up and under on the half way. Taylor and Laurence Betty moved the ball to Brooks who raced over from the 10 metre line. Dave Archer
added the extra points to make it 20-7. Dave Fitchett and Daryl Banton replaced Ben Peach
and Ed Henry
Tamworth made a promising break down the right wing however Luke Peach
tracked back and held on to the ankles of the winger to halt the attack. Tamworth retained the ball and probed in midfield before being awarded a penalty for the Burton tackler not rolling away. The Tamworth Full Back drilled the ball into the wind and over the posts reducing the Burton lead to 10 points. Jason Knight
replaced Dutton. Burton pressed forward after the kick off and won the ball back only to knock on. Tamworth attacked on the right wing and a chipped ahead. Full Back Sam Smith
dealt with a nasty bounce and steadied the ship. Tamworth earned a scrum from the breakdown and were propelled backwards by a massive Burton drive. The referee then decided to penalise this dominant Burton drive, for driving up and then inappropriate comments led to Burton being marched back 10 metres and Matt Tivey
being sent to the sinbin due to his over-boiling pent up frustration. Simon Bradley
replaced Jason Knight
to keep a front row intact following the sin binning. Burton couldn’t get a hold of the ball to relieve the pressure as Tamworth advanced, throwing everyone over the ball at every breakdown. Desperate defence was required until Tamworth were awarded a 5 metre scrum and drove over to score. The conversion was missed but with the score 20-15 with 15 minutes remaining, Tamworth sensed an upset was possible and there was cause for concern in the Burton ranks.
Burton managed to keep Tamworth in their own half after the restart and with ten minutes remaining the Tamworth fly half threw out a long pass towards the left wing. The ever alert Dave Archer
raced on to the pass taking it above his head and then cantering over the line for a try which he then converted.
and Danny Campbell
replaced Murphy and Sam Smith
. Burton were soon on the attack again and showed a glimpse of their true capability. Quick hands across the backs took play to the left wing on the Tamworth 10m line. The forwards took play towards the 22 and then the backs were released to put Danny Smith
into space on the right wing to beat the last man and score in the corner. Dave Archer
struck the conversion beautifully to add two points.
, Will Peach
and Simon Bradley
replaced Brooks, Luke Peach
and Tivey. Tamworth continued to show great spirit and pressed forward, before their scrumhalf made a searing break which Burton had to scramble to cover. An infringement gave Tamworth a penalty in front of the posts but they took the scrum and used the space to the right for their fullback to score and then convert to make it 34 – 22 to Burton at full time.
, the Burton coach, said “Tamworth put up a good fight and certainly won plenty of ball in which to cause us plenty of issues throughout the game. We didn’t particularly play well and probably weren’t allowed to play the type of game we wanted to, but in the end the class in our backs probably won us the game. The lads now have a six week break before we start pre-season again and with recruitment for all teams and age groups key, we would welcome anyone interested in joining the club to contact us through www.burtonrugbyclub.co.uk.
Outgoing Staffordshire President, Bill Leason, presented the cup to victorious Burton skipper Josh Cartwright
and a commemorative plate to Mick Davey, Burton Assistant Coach, who now departs from the coaching team after six years of dedicated and loyal service.