Third successive away match ends on a high
A run of away fixture was culminated with a 60-3 victory over Dunlop by a side much changed by injury.
The only real surprise in the outcome of this Midlands I (West) match was the margin of the final score as Burton completed the double over bottom of the table Dunlop with an eight try haul to give them a confidence boosting 60-3 victory. Injury enforced changes to the Burton side saw Dave Archer and Lewis Brooks in the centre partnership with Darryl Banton and Karl English alongside on the wings, while Sam Smith made a re-appearance at fullback in this reshuffled Burton back division. So despite already defeating them by 71-3 at Peel Croft in early November it remained to be seen whether these alterations would change Burton’s scoring potential. But thankfully, after their two recent dismal and lack lustre defeats, a final score line of 60-3 was a more than satisfactory outcome for this changed Burton side, even though more accurate distribution would have created an even bigger victory.
With just three minutes on the clock Dunlop were penalised for offside and Dave Archer took no time in giving Burton a 3-0 lead with an accurate penalty goal from thirty-five metres out. Unfortunately for the next ten minutes Dunlop demonstrated that they were going to be no easy pushover as they battled like tigers to try and stop Burton’s constant supply of good ball. But then after a great forward surge by the Burton pack they were awarded a scrum some ten metres from the home line and Craig Dutton picked up from No 8 to brush aside the defence to score under the posts for Archer to convert and take the score to 10-0.
For the next fifteen minutes the game lost its momentum as Burton’s poor passing and distribution saw chances being squandered as the home side again also showed their tenacity and ability to slow down possession. Burton were well in control but just couldn’t unshackle themselves from Dunlop’s slowing tactics and Burton threw out wild passes as they attempted to move the ball. This resulted in possession being lost as Dunlop’s eager forwards pounced on loose balls to stop threatening moves. Then Matt Tivey seized onto a pass from Ben Peach and made thirty metres to set up a ruck. The ball was recycled quickly and Luke Peach chipped ahead for Archer to outwit the home defence and race over the line for a try. Archer’s conversion sailed over the bar to give Burton a 17-0 lead, but Tivey’s exertions saw him have to leave the field injured to be replaced by James Hamilton for his 50th first team appearance.
The game again lost its pace and Burton again battled to re-establish domination, but three minutes before the break Archer produced a little bit of magic as he gathered a miss-cued clearance from Dunlop’s overworked defence and set off on a forty-metre run to weave his way in and out of would be tacklers before touching-down in the corner and extend Burton’s lead to 22-0.
But from the restart Burton were penalised for handling on the floor and the Dunlop kicker duly put the ball between the uprights to send his team into half-time trailing 22-3, instead of pointless as spectators had expected.
The second half was played at a much faster pace than the first and this saw Burton controlling the game better and scoring five tries without reply as their hosts tired. However, it wasn’t until six minutes into the half that Burton got more points on the board when another offence at a ruck by Dunlop was penalised and Archer slotted over his penalty attempt from thirty metres out.
After this Dunlop rallied a little and again began to disrupt Burton’s control but eventually a take by Josh Cartwright from a lineout on halfway saw Luke Peach try to break his way through the home defence but when stopped he off loaded superbly for Brooks to take a wonderful line and slice through the cover and race in for Burton’s fist try of the half. Some two minutes later Peach again timed his pass to perfection for Sam Smith to take the ball and round three defenders to score halfway out. Archer converted both of these tries and Burton now led 39-3 with yet more to come.
A great take from the restart saw Ken Archer gather the ball to set up Nathan Taylor and Dave Fitchett for a powerful surge that saw them get to within twenty metres of the home line before the latter fed Dutton who charged his way over for his second try of the day. Archer added the extra points as Burton continued to pressurise the home line. The Burton side were now making ground with every move as Gavin Worth replaced Karl English on the wing after the latter had been stopped five metres short of the line by a crunching Dunlop tackle. Then Brooks fed Banton but he was bundled into touch as Dunlop used all their skill and energy to stop another Burton score.
Another surge from the Burton pack following a lineout saw Fitchett, Dutton and the Taylor brothers take play to inside he home twenty-two for a Burton scrum. A good solid Burton scrum saw Ben Peach break blind and feed the supporting ‘Spud’ Taylor who scampered over the line to put the ball down under the bar for Burton’s seventh try of the match and once again Archer added the two extra points.
Kev Birt came on for Fitchett in the backrow and his presence only boosted Burton’s ball carrying power as he made thirty metres with a bustling run with his first touch of the ball. Then after Ben Peach had gathered a clearance he combined with Brooks, Smith, Banton, Dutton and Taylor to take play from inside their own half to the home twenty-two. Here, Birt took the ball on a beautiful line and burst through three or four would be tacklers to race the twenty yards to touch down under the posts. Archer’s final kick bisected the uprights and Burton left the pitch worthy 60-3 victors and thankful that their run of away fixtures had ended on a high note.