31 Jan

Saturday 31 Jan saw Burnham host league leaders Wiveliscombe at home in the BASC. A large player portfolio had been advertised which on the surface had been well supported on paper at least; a topped up squad was required as the previous encounter with Wivi had not been at all satisfactory. The visitors are obviously chasing promotion and would field a strong unit to take yet another victory; in their efforts to consolidate a substantial lead at the head of the table.
That much was true as the visitors had an early turn out at BASC to begin their pre-game preparation.
In contrast to the home side who found themselves scratching to get a cohesive side together, eventually fifteen were found and a spectator (Dennis Coggins) was cohersed to  get  changed this gave Burnham one Sub; Burnham fielded 15; some  playing out of position. The match build up was very focused concentrating on the basics; it was comprehensive and got the unit thinking in the right direction. What was interesting was at no time was capitulation mentioned nor contemplated.
Matt Slater pulled on the body amour of captaincy won the toss and opted for territorial advantage playing down field. It was an apprehensive Burnham side that awaited the kick and rush from the effervescing Wivi.
The shock and awe was not forth coming and it became apparent after the initial exchanges that Burnham could hold their own and better against  this Wivi  side; confidence grew in the home sides capability as they forced the visitors into their 22 by a combination of well executed mauls that  overpowered the heavier slower Wivi  forwards who at  his  stage were totally dependent on their backs in containing an effervescing flood of Burnham backs; a turn over ball and a penalty from the  visitors gave Burnham the  opportunity to  exploit; and Elisi Vinipola took the advantage; from a quick ball he carried ten meters giving Sam Wall the opportunity to  slip outside unmarked; take the  pass and score left of the uprights; try converted by Wills Conway.  A great start and one that rocked Wivi back on their heels.
Burnham’s confidence had been  given  a massive boost and this vibrated through the entire side as they  set  about attacking the visitors again; packing them into their own half; good  possession was being retained initially by the  pack with  great work from Skater; Wall & Wall; Jake  Allen was playing out of his skin and new comer Sean Ebrahams  playing out of position was solid in attack and  defence. The pressure paid when an infringement from the visitors pack due to handling on the ground gave Conway an opportunity to slot a penalty; gratefully taken; Burnham 10 up.
The expected retaliation came as the visitors tried to get on the score board despite consolidated pressure resulting in their no 8 crossing the line; was held up and the line remained intact.
Burnham had not remained idle and the backs were ever ready to exploit any opportunity and had demonstrated they had the ability and pace to turn on any mistake offer by the visitors; it was from a quick clearance by Elisi a swift follow up by Elliot Donnelly who brought down the ball carrier near to their 22 that the ball was turned over recycled though Massie Shaw; and Chris Jones adeptly finished off over the line by Conway; who converted his own effort.  Score 17-0
Again the visitors came back it was clear that the league leaders were not going to  lay down in this  game; this time they got their act together and put together a simple forwards to backs distribution from line squabble; and scored, converted.
Again Burnham rallied and drove hard into the defence of the visitors and as the half came to an end Elisi put his mark down with a fine try; unconverted half time Burnham 22 Wivi 7.
It was a confident but not complacent Burnham that analyzed the action of the half; and realized that a momentous victory was for the taking.
This was the attitude that the Burnham took into the second half the result was astounding; Burnham settled down on the visitor’s line and hammered away into  the last ditch defence of the  visitors which was beginning to  tell on Wivi’s fitness it was more bad finishing by Burnham that gave them a reprieve which was short lived from a clearance Tom Wall carried and set the ruck up; Smith and Slater consolidated the set piece Ebrahams and Jake Allan drove in; Conway was involved as the  play drifted to  the uprights a maul consolidated saw Ed Lewis ponder on what side to  release to;  he had options just as he was about to  distribute when the  Wivi defence opened giving Ed  a chink to  get in; which he took; a great  solo effort Try; Conway converted.
The visitors came back; and clawed back a try  but the  ground to  cover to  get in the driving seat was telling as much of their efforts were stopped by Burnham; Shaw was ever menacing as again he broke out shifting the play across the  field ending up with  Matt Slater zeroed in on the  line; who off loaded at the  final opportunity to  George Willcox to  score on the corner.
Again the visitors came back; some very impressive carries were executed by Ryan Maynard as he tried to turn defence into attack.
As the game drew to a close Smith went off for Coggins to play out the game. In the final throes of the game Wivi pulled a try back to make the score line a little more respectable.
This game was without a doubt Burnham’s “Roukes Drift” by a consolidate use of available resources; Discipline; communication; and the correct use of available fire power the 2s had inflicted a resounding victory over a league leading side who have been on a roll for weeks. All Burnham Players can take away an immense sense of achievement for the effort put for the 80 minutes. A great game to  play in a great victory
This effort must be maintained as we line up against Hornets away on Saturday 08 Feb.


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