Not as bad as it looks!
Decisions cost Burton as score flatters visitors
A referee can only call what he sees, but the visitors had the rub of the green in this match.
Old Halesonians deserved their win, but even they would agree, not by the margin in the final score.
The game was stopped early due to Danny Smith breaking his ankle and requiring attention on the pitch from the Ambulance Service.
With the game only three minutes old and hardly out of the starting stalls Burton’s Darryl Banton was sin-binned for tackling the opposition No 8 without the ball. From this the visitors spun the ball out wide and their centre made an outside break to score near the corner. The conversion was missed but Hales now led 5-0 with just ten minutes played.
From the restart Jon Edwards and Josh Cartwright took the ball forward to halfway to form a ruck, but the ball was lost and the opposition put together a good piece of play involving forwards and backs before a pass was thrown out to their winger to gather and touchdown halfway out. The conversion sailed over the bar and Hales now flatteringly led 12-0.
While the conversion was being attempted Dave Archer limped from the field after a pre-game warm-up strain prevented him from continuing and Matt Boden came on to replace him. Peach gathered the long restart and cleverly bounced the ball into touch just short of the home ten-metre line, but the lineout saw the opposition catch and drive forward before their second-row was carried over the line to score his sides third try.
Now trailing 17-0 with twenty-five minutes gone Burton again were forced to ring the changes after Sam Benjamin received a shoulder injury. The experienced Craig Dutton came on at No 8 allowing Kelvin Brown to switch to open side flanker as Joe Briggs moved to fill a role on the wing. Surprisingly, these changes appeared to stabilise Burton as they got more involved and put together a series of good plays that involved Sam Smith, Lewis Brooks, Nathan Taylor, Kelvin Browne and Jamie Burrough. But unfortunately one such play saw an inaccurate final pass snatched by the opposition winger and following the interception he raced in to touch down for another converted try to take the score to 24-0.
Stuart Hutton replaced Simon Bradley at prop just before the break, but another powerful driving maul by Hales saw their prop touch down for a try and take the score to 29-0. But from the restart Burton hit back and some good work by Sam Smith was nearly rewarded by a try but his poor final pass saw Hales breakaway and race down the pitch. But the ever alert Danny Smith and Kelvin Browne were on hand to stop the move with two superb cover tackles and Banton kicked up field to relive the danger as the half-time whistle blew.
The second period of play saw Burton start well and a much more even contest followed,. Another outside break by the Hales centre saw him race over for a converted try to take the score to 36-0. Dutton received a yellow card and Burton had to play with fourteen men, and during this spell they scored another try to extend their lead to 41-0.
With fifteen minutes to go and now back to fifteen men Burton rallied and a series of pick-ups and drives by Burton forwards led by Edwards, Taylor, Charl Neethling and Browne. From the last of these Banton spun out good, quick ball to Lewis Brooks, who rounded his man and scored under the posts for Banton to convert.
But with Burton now playing far more positively Smith’s injury ended the game nearly ten minutes early and although beaten by a better team the Burton squad knew as they left the field that the final score line did not reflect the true balance of the game nor the effort they had put into it.