Burnham-on-Sea 2nd 25   Bristol Imperial 2nd 15

The Burnham 1st and 2nd teams entertained at home this weekend, which produced a large crowd who were to be entertained to some, flowing rugby in some excellent weather conditions. Due to first team injuries Burnham lost their skipper Matt Slater who stepped up on getting the call, he handed the responsibility to Lee Berry who is no newcomer to taking on the responsibility for the team captain. Lee had a mixture of talent to chose from and the team looked at a steady state, enough regular players were available it was left to slotting every one into the appropriate position. Our opposition are in the same league as Burnham but play in the Northern section; they are currently the league leaders, this was a challenge but eagerly looked forward to by the Burnham side.
It was obvious that Bristol were a   well-organised unit they were well balanced who had a very credible pack and some very able backs; they were all attuned to playing together which made them formidable opponents.
With the lessons of last week ringing in the home side’s ear the game got underway. The Bristol side set out their stall immediately it was clear to see what the game plan was the forwards were to do the heavy work soak up the Burnham players and then unleash the backs this was to be engineered by the back row and a very able scrum half and stand off. As  the  game  progressed  this was  exactly how  it went, the  Burnham side  however  were  not  to   be drawn, the  pack although less experienced  worked  very  hard and  it  was obvious at this  early  stage  that  Burnham would have  the  edge  on fitness; in the  second  row  Dan and ’’Horse’’ worked  effortlessly the  front  row, Ash, Paul  and  Glen  Cutter  were  not  letting  Bristol  away  with  anything in the  back  row  Ben Bowkett and  Dan Berry were  hunting  down  anything  that got  loose. It was from this set up that Mike Whitfield playing at Scrum half broke out and scored a very creditable individual try. The conversion failed score 5-0.
Burnham were on fire and shortly after this score the backs connected through Dan Spellman, Dan Berry and Rob Lewis ending with Dan Spellman crossing the line try unconverted Burnham 10-0.
The Bristol side were stung into action and showed just what they were capable of when from a turnover the scrum half unleashed the back row who fed the winger who broke through the home side defence to score under the uprights. A well-taken try and conversation 10-7.
Almost immediately from the kick off Burnham ran down a kick on into the Bristol 22 some great follow up play from the pack saw Paul feed the wing who broke across the pitch to be brought down and then held on the ground resulting in a penalty. Taken by Will Conway 13-7. Into Half time.
Half time saw substitutions being made; the veteran Campaigner Gilly replacing Paul in the front row with others being warned    to warm up, the game restarted. Bristol  made  the  impact  from the  restart  with  Key replacements posted in they  seemed  a more  focused  unit and  were  stating  to have  an  influence, Burnham on the  other  hand  were  slow to identify  this new  surge and  paid  the  price  when  the  visitors drove  deep  into  the  Burnham 22 drew Burnham into  the  break  down  and  created  an  overlap  for  the  inside  centre  to  score  left  of  the  upright. They were unsuccessful in the conversion attempt score 13-12. The Burnham Skipper gave out the call to rally and Burnham settled down to playing some running rugby. This took its toll on the visitors as they were noticeably slowing down; further substitutions were made in the form of Andy Blair for Glen Cutter and Mike Smith for Dan in the second row. The increase of pace certainly was telling on the visitors as the game entered the last quarter Burnham were penetrating Imperials’ gain line continually forcing  the  visitor to  reorganise repeatedly. From a turnover ball some forty metres out the ball was passed through the hands of the forwards and backs resulting in a try left of the uprights from Dan Spellman the scorer. This try and conversation by Will Conway gave Burnham the breathing space they deserved. This try also delighted the home spectators who had been very vocal in their encouragement of the side. With the exception of a grabbed penalty in response from Imperial, Burnham were now fully in the driving seat. Some very useful drives into the visitors defence from Horse, Dan Berry and Ben Bowkett with supporting players able to secure and clear out enabling the home side to enjoy a considerable amount of possession. It was from a phase of play created by this that the ball went out to Ginge on the wing who set up the ball perfectly for the supporting forwards enabling Alex the  other winger to break into space crossing the line between the uprights. Try. 

With the final whistle Burnham can take much away from this   win. They had put together some very entertaining running rugby, players had remained focused in the main and opportunities had been exploited. A good afternoon’s work by all well done. Next week is a home league game against Castle Cary This is a must win game!! Players should declare themselves available or otherwise to Matt Slater ASP


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