Burton Under 17`s travelled to Leek RFC to play the Staffordshire County League Semi-Final
Cole, Davies, Finney, Furner, Gorman, Greenwood, Handy, Higginson, Hulland, Marshall, Millward, Mycock, Roden, Sharp, Shaw, Spray, Sturgess, Welsford, Whitehouse, Williams.
1. Loose Head Prop – Lewis Sturgess
2. Hooker – Abe Furner
3. Tight Head Prop – Josh Shaw
4. 2nd Row – Cameron Handy
5. 2nd Row – Curtis Marshall
6. Blind Side Flanker – Ben Hulland
7. Open Side Flanker – Pete Millward
8. Number 8 – Ben Whitehouse (Capt)
9. Scrum Half – George Roden
10. Fly Half – Joe Gorman
11. Left Wing – Ryan Sharp
12. Inside Centre – Max Williams
13. Outside Centre – Levi Davies
14. Right Wing – Sheridan Cole
15. Full Back –Lewis Mason
After an extremely successful league campaign, Burton headed over to Leek to contest The Staffordshire County Semi-final knowing that they had lost the corresponding fixture 2 months earlier.
On the muddiest boggy pitch, freezing strong winds blowing a gale from all directions & rain falling continually saw a match kick off with Burton already covered in mud after a prefect warm-up.
The game started with a Burton kick off. Leek, looking clean in their Blue & white hoops came straight forward running at Abe Furner whom set the standard by putting in the first of many crunching tackles. On his shoulder in support was Curtis Marshall using his strength to win turnover ball for his team. George Roden was straight in as the call was made.
The ball was kept tight as Burton went through the phases. The slippery conditions were getting the best of both sides so early handling was tricky. However Joe Gorman made a break down the left releasing Levi Davies who got within the 22 before off loading to Ben Whitehouse. Whitehouse was tackled just short. Sheridan Cole stole in 5 metres out & dived for the line but was pushed back. Burton secured the ball & from nowhere came Pete Millward who grabbed the ball & drove over to open the scoring. A great try, started & finished by the magnificent U16’s. Gorman’s kick from outwide was short.
Burton were very much on top & attacked down both flanks with Max Williams making several telling runs. Cameron Handy, Ben Hulland & Lewis Sturgess were again at the leaders of Burton’s defensive lines with ferorious tackling & ball carrying to set-up a platform & get their team on the front foot. Lewis Mason was having another stormer dealing with all breaks keeping it clean at the back.
On 10 mins, Leek struck back with a breakaway try down the right. A missed tackle in midfield proved costly as they crossed the line. The conversion was missed. Burton came straight back with Gorman pulling the strings in midfield. However, On 15 mins, the referee missed a clear knock on by Leek that left the visitor’s stunned as they ran in again down the right to score under the posts. This gave them the lead & the successful conversion took them further forward.
Burton were wound up & dug in as they played up hill. Every young Crofter was putting in tackle after tackle as they pulled themselves back into the game. Although the ball was like a bar of soap, Burtons hands were great with the Gorman, Williams, Davies & Cole combining brilliantly. On 32 minutes, Burton’s Backs finally broke free down the right with Handy breaking free & offloading to Ryan Sharp who ran in from 15 metres out. Gorman’s conversion in terrible conditions was again short. This left the half time score Leek 12 – 10 Burton.
BURTON 10 (Tries – Millward, Sharp)
The 2nd half begun with Ben Higginson, Joe Mycock & William Spray coming into the mix. Higginson was right on form coming back from injury & showing increased fitness levels in muddy underfoot conditions. Joe Mycock was again strong in the tackle & carrying the ball forward. It was Mycock who made the break on 40 mins who opened up the field for Lewis Sturgess to score an excellent team try. Gorman’s kicking was greta but conditions worked against him.
With Burton pressing, Leek’s defence was constantly under the cosh. Mason was on fire & it was his return that started another flowing handling move. He broke down the left, passed inside to Davies who darted over to extend Burtons lead.
Alex Finney, Ryan Welsford & Josh Greenwood all came into the fray. They were all needed as Leek upped the anty. Leek found themselves camped on Burton’s line only for The Crofter’s defence to hold firm. Burton then moved down field & cut loose. Gorman somehow broke free & ran in for the line. With the most unselfish play I have ever witnessed, when many players would have gone on alone, he passed to Spray with the line at his mercy. Unfortunately the opportunity was gone but 2 plays later, Leek kicked the ball forward, Cole charged it down & Whitehouse picked up the loose ball to run it in. Leek to their credit, showed great sportsmanship by apologising to Cole for hitting him in the chest.
With time running down, Burton kept racing forward & with Sturgess bulldozing his way through the centre. Finney linked made a half break & off loaded to captain Whitehouse. Cole then burst through & finished scoring for the day to cap an excellent display. The Unselfish Gorman that got his just deserts by slotting his kick straight through the uprights to leave the final score, Leek 12 – 32 Burton.
BURTON 32 (Tries – Millward, Sharp, Sturgess, Davies, Whitehouse, Cole Con - Gorman)
The Coaching Team would like to congratulate all the players whom took part in this fixture. The players put their hearts & souls into this game in terrible conditions but still played some quality rugby.
A special mention goes to Taylor Millington who travelled with his mates to watch them earn victory against a strong Leek Side. We need to thank Leek’s Dave Sharratt & County Secretary Eric Stokes, you know what for.
And finally, after winning The Staffordshire County Plate last season, The U17’s set an early season target of 3rd place in the league. That was surpassed by finishing runners up & now they have a County Cup Final to look forward to against County Champions for the previous 3 years Wolverhampton. The players that played in this tie did themselves Burton Rugby Club & Rich Wilton proud!