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Burton 36, Stoke 0

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 06, 2014

ALL-ROUND EXCELLENCE . . . Burton backed up their brilliant offensive display with a superb defensive performance to completely shut Stoke out

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BURTON extinguished any lingering hopes Stoke had of finishing in the Midlands One West top two after dominating Saturday’s visitors from the off at Peel Croft.

Dave Archer claimed a hat-trick of tries as the Crofters maintained their one-point lead over third-placed Hereford, who beat Silhillians 34-11 at home.

After an opening exchange of kicks Stoke were forced into making touch on their own 22.

Will Broooks caught the line-out and was driven forward by his pack. Lawrence Betty then crashed forward in the centre and the ball was taken through two phases towards the right of the field.

As play was switched back, fly-half Ian Gilmour jinked through the cover for a try which Daryl Banton converted.

The hosts maintained their fierce opening tempo as Tom Murphy and James Burrough made yards in midfield, before the ball was shifted out to the left wing where Archer skilfully beat three defenders to score.

Despite ending up on his back, Banton again added the two points.

Demonstrating the power available to Burton, Liam Hucknall and Tom Harris took play 40 metres from the kick-off.

The ball was eventually lost, but soon recovered and fed to Harry Titley.

The full-back linked beautifully with Archer who took a second pass and touched down in the corner.

The conversion was not made but the Crofters still led 19-0 with only seven minutes on the clock.

Fourth-placed Stoke then got some possession for the first time and kicked into the Burton 22.

Josh Cartwright caught the line-out and a 10-metre drive was eventually collapsed by Stoke.

The game was being played at a terrific pace and despite the poor conditions, the handling was so good that the first knock-on was 13 minutes in.

Burton conceded a penalty at the first scrum, and Stoke then took play through several phases to the Burton 22.

More phases followed, but Stoke were twice marched back by the Burton defence – before Titley tidied up a loose ball and Glimour found touch.

Both sides made attacks prior to Stoke being awarded a penalty, which their kicker wasted by finding touch in goal.

In reply Jono Parkinson made a storming break over halfway and found James Burrough in support.

Jack Brooks then took play forward before Gilmour scored his second try, on what was his 250th first team appearance. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

Matt Tivey and Harris then made strong carries for Burton, before a counter-attack from Stoke was forced into touch at the corner.

The Crofters defended well and saw out the remainder of the half with their clean sheet intact.

Betty received a yellow card with the second half just six minutes old. However, the hosts still applied the pressure and seemed to be unhindered by the numerical disadvantage.

Will Roach then replaced Will Brooks and when the next attack resulted in a penalty for Burton, Archer took it quickly to complete his hat-trick.

Burton made their only glaring error of the day from the kick-off and Stoke maintained field position before a chip over the hosts’ defensive line caused slight concern.

But Titley and Banton combined to find the safety of touch.

Archer was injured in the scramble for loose ball and was replaced by Eddie Nicholls who went to scrum-half, requiring Banton to move to the wing.

While the scoreboard was not ticking over as quickly in the second half, the Crofters remained were in complete control.

For the final try Burton moved the ball at real pace. Gilmour and Betty made the initial yardage, before Banton and Harris used quick hands to feed Gilmour.

With men outside him on the right flank, Titley took the pass, drew the winger and fed Sam Benjamin who tore up the wing to score.

Banton perfectly dissected the uprights from a tough angle to add the extras.

Burton rung the changes with Craig Dutton coming on and Cartwright leaving the field.

The closing stages were a little disjointed, but the hosts were comfortable in defence as they secured a clean sheet.

Over in Midlands One East, second-placed Derby were beaten by Old Northamptonians, who are now just four points off the pace in the battle to secure a play-off spot against the side finishing as runner-up in Midlands One West.

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