By David Scott
Burn sealed promotion following a 17-7 victory in the play-off against Scarborough at Ramsgreave Drive.
The cold, wet and windy weather dictated this was not going to be a free-flowing game of rugby, however it was Burn who adapted the best to the weather, they kept play tight and through their dominance in the scrum they were able to keep the pressure on Scarborough for large parts of the game. This saw Burn deservedly secure the win and promotion to North Premier, which will be the highest level in the club’s history.
Despite playing into the very strong wind it was Burn who started the better, knowing kicking into the wind would be futile, they kept the ball in hand and built through the phases, they remained patient and were rewarded with their first try on 7 minutes. In the build up to the try Corey Logan had a charge and was stopped just short, the ball was recycled and Ben Corless gathered and went low to score. The conversion was missed. After this Scarborough managed to get hold of some ball and spent time in the Burn half, on 11 minutes they created an overlap 10 metres from the try line, however the winger cut inside and was wrapped up by Burn defenders. Scarborough continued to pressure Burn, but the defence remained strong and kept the Yorkshire side out. Scarborough would regret this failure to score, as on 21 minutes Burn scored their second try, they caught and drove from a line-out in the Scarborough 22, they then released the ball along the backs, Leon Fifield joined the line at pace and went through a gap to score in the corner. He was then unable to kick the conversion. Scarborough’s cause was not helped as they had a flanker to the sin bin, however the numbers were soon even again as Sam Gale was also sent to the bin. Scarborough took immediate advantage as they caught Burn sleeping, from the penalty 5 metres from the try line they took a quick tap and spread it wide where they found space to score in the corner. The conversion was then well kicked. Scarborough maintained the pressure for the remainder of the half, however Burn managed to keep them out leaving the score at 10-7 at the break.
From the start of the second half Burn were on the attack, Sam Gale went from the back of a scrum within the Scarborough 22, he reached the try line, but was just held up. However, from the resulting scrum Gale did score, Burn had the Scarborough pack back pedalling in the scrum, Gale then went blind to score in the corner. Leon Fifield excellently converted from the touchline. As the half progressed the rain became heavier making handling even harder. It took Scarborough 15 minutes to get out of their own half, a good break in midfield broke the Burn defence, a chip on saw a foot race, it was Burn who won this to touch down for a 22 drop out. After this Burn really took complete control of the game, with much of the play in the Scarborough 22, they had several 5 metres scrum, but with the ball so wet more and more handling mistakes were made preventing further points. Phil Baines was shown, what looked to be a harsh yellow card for a high tackle, this could have had a detrimental impact on Burn, however despite this Scarborough were unable to retain any meaningful possession or break through the solid Burn defence. Burn remained on top up front, on a good day more points may have followed if they could have spread the ball to the backs, but safety first was important, however, this resulted in no more points for the Lancastrians despite being well on top and the game finished 17-7 to Burn.
Burn thoroughly deserved this victory as they put in an excellent team performance, if you were to be ultra-critical you could say they should have scored more points, however the focus of this game wasn’t about bonus points or points difference, it was about getting the win and they did this. And they did this with dominance as the game went on, in the closing 20 minutes Scarborough were rarely out of their own half.
It has been a wonderful and historic season for Burn, credit should be given to the players, not just those who played in this game, but all who have contributed throughout the season, they have become a strong team who enjoy playing together. Coaches Greg Nicholls, Tom Lavelle and Phil Baines have work tirelessly and helped the team improve throughout the season, since 24th November they have only lost one of the 17 games they have played. Thanks to the physio’s who help put the players back together and to those who help behind the scenes throughout the week and on match days, thanks also to the committee, volunteers and all the bar and catering staff. Without sponsors and the supporters who come and watch, the team wouldn’t be where they are today. Finally, last, but certainly not least is Director of Rugby, Dino Radice, he is the glue that binds all together, despite the sad loss of his beloved brother earlier in the year, he has somehow remained focused on his long-held dream of getting Burn into the National leagues, that dream will become reality next season. All will be aware that just to stay up next season will be a huge task, but no doubt Dino will already have half a mind on plans to try and achieve that task.
The season is not yet over, as next week Burn travel to Rochdale to play them in the Lancashire Cup final. Kick off is 4pm, please come and support the team for one last time before the summer break.