Burton show character, tenacity and skill to record fantastic victory
10-19 with fifteen minutes to play saw Burton's best team effort of the season gain them well deserved victory over second placed Worcester Wanderers.
Burton guaranteed fourth spot in the Midlands I (West) league table with a hard earned victory over second placed visitors Worcester Wanderers at a sunny Peel Croft on Saturday afternoon. Despite leading at halftime Burton showed their true mettle, and gave supporters a fantastic finale to the season with a tenacious display of attacking and never say die rugby, when they came back from being 10-19 down with fifteen minutes to go with three tries in the last ten minutes to seal a very, well deserved victory.
With the Croft bathed in bright sunshine Burton kicked-off and quickly showed their intent as Luke Peach raced through a narrow gap to get the home side on the attack, but his pass went forward for the first scrum of the game and Burton’s pack immediately showed their dominance in this area as they pushed the visiting eight backwards to gain the ball and surge onwards. Then as Worcester tried to push forward Burton won a turn over in their half and Dave Archer kicked ahead but the ball went dead as he and Ian Gilmour chased after it.
From the drop out Burton moved the ball out to the left and a frantic five minutes of play followed as both sides spilled ball or lost it in contact before another forward pass ended the promising attack. Unfortunately during this spell Burton’s Ed Henry was injured and had limp off the field to be replaced by Kelvin Browne, who was soon in the thick of the action with a couple of crunching tackles before he picked up a loose ball to charge up field. He was stopped on the opposition ten yard line and Burton were awarded one of the many penalties they should have gained as Worcester continually handled on the floor. Archer stepped up and mighty boot saw his kick bisect the uprights to give Burton a 3-0 lead after just ten minutes play.
Worcester attacked from the restart but their kick sailed into the arms of Matt Boden who returned the ball back to halfway. An offence at the lineout saw Darryl Banton take a quick tap and passed to Nathan Taylor who made ground before releasing Archer on a mazy run. He was stopped just short of the twenty-two but great work by Taylor at the maul saw him emerge with the ball and feed the on rushing Browne, who took the pass and cut through opposition ranks before rounding the last two defenders to dive over near the posts for the first try of the day. Archer easily added the extra points and the score board now showed a truer reflection of play as it read 10-0 with twenty minutes gone.
Archer then missed a penalty attempt as his kick from in front of the posts was pulled to the left and missed its target. Then good quick hands by Archer, Gilmour and Lewis Brooks set Burton on an attack down the right wing but a loose pass was intercepted and the Worcester winger raced away to clear the danger before being overhauled by Brooks. From the scrum the opposition chipped ahead but John Philliskirk showed that his kicking skills have improved by returning the ball sixty metres for a lineout in the visitors twenty-two. Josh Cartwright won the line and the Burton pack surged forward with Craig Dutton, Matt Tivey and Charl Neethling all making ground, but penalties saw the chances disappear. Then Worcester drove forward into the Burton half Philliskirk was yellow carded for his ‘hand bag attack’ after being pulled out of a maul. The resulting penalty gave possession to the opposition and a quick tap saw their blindside flanker charge forward and helped by some indifferent Burton tackling he broke through Burton’s defence before passing to his supporting second row who dived over for an unconverted try just as the half-time whistle blew.
During the break Joe Briggs was replaced by Tom Cooper and whether it was this that upset Burton’s balance or just sheer poor tackling Worcester were allowed to stroll through for their second row to score another try that was this time converted to put then in the lead at 10-12 with just two minutes of the second half gone.
Helped by Gilmour Browne chased the kick-off and caught the ball, but handling on the floor saw Worcester kick the ball back into the Burton half where Jon Edwards and Dutton combined to stop a driving maul as the opposition surged forward. Burton regained possession but more forward passes and poor handling cost them dear as the visitors were able to use the wind and kick themselves out of danger. The Burton pack saw Cartwright take a lineout and piled on pressure to roll forward before Taylor burst clear to feed Brooks but Worcester cleared back to halfway as Burton were penalised for holding on. Further penalises against Burton for offences on the floor saw the opposition drive into the home twenty-two, but solid defending by Browne, Cooper, Edwards and Tivey kept the Burton line intact.
A great clearance by Banton took play back to halfway and Edwards steal at the lineout saw Burton’s pack drive forward to earn a scrum. From this scrum on the opposition ten metre line Dutton broke free and raced thirty-five metres forward but the supporting Gilmour couldn’t take his pass and Worcester got a scrum and after some scrappy play by Burton they kicked up field deep into Burton territory. A forward pass by Burton saw Worcester win a scrum and some neat handling put their winger in the clear to race forty metres before touching down. The conversion sailed over the bar and the visitors now led 10-19 with fifteen minutes to play and Burton need to tries to win.
As Burton replaced Philliskirk with Sam Smith home supporters may have thought the game was over and Burton had thrown away another chance of victory but they need not have worried as the Burton team put on one of the best displays seen on the Croft for years as they battled back with three tries to secure a five point win bonus. Firstly Archer kicked a penalty from nearly forty metres out to narrow the gap to just six points, then with the visitors using the wind to full effect to try and keep play in the Burton half a long clearance by Banton took play back to halfway. From here Taylor broke clear to charge forward before passing to Brooks who set off on a weaving run before scoring halfway out. Needing the extra points to go into the lead supporters groaned as Banton’s attempt sailed narrowly just wide of the posts leaving Burton still trailing 18-19 with five minutes left.
From the restart Browne set of on one of his powerful weaving runs that thanks to the support of Briggs took play into the visitor’s ten metre area. Here Smith took a beautifully timed pas from Briggs to scythe his way through the opposition to touch down under the posts. Banton’s conversion sailed between the sticks and Burton now led 25-19 with a couple of minutes remaining.
Worcester’s restart sailed directly into touch and from the scrum on the centre spot Dutton picked up to feed Taylor who crashed forward before find Peach in support. Peach’s little grubber kick rolled into the visitor’s in goal area and Archer, as ever alert, was quickly there to touch the ball down and seal Burton’s come back and leave the final score a 30-19 for a hard but well deserved victory.