DIRECTOR of rugby Steve Smith reckons the three tries scored in the latter stages of Saturday’s 23-8 victory over Kenilworth at Peel Croft showed Burton’s overall superiority,
Lawrence Betty, James Burrough and Matt Boden all crossed the lane late on to seal victory – and give the Crofters a potentially crucial bonus point.
“We were probably a bit rusty having not played for a few weeks,” said Smith
“We dominated the game but did not finish things off.
“In the last 10 minutes we scored three really good tries, and that showed our superiority throughout the game.
“The opposition were very good at slowing things down with spoiling tactics – that was the story of the game really.”
Kenilworth were soon pushed back into their own 22 following a raking kick from Ian Gilmour.
The visitors won the line-out but the first receiver knocked-on, and Burton had a promising five-metre scrum in the corner.
After two phases the Crofters conceded a penalty – and infringed again moments as the early advantage slipped away.
Craig Dutton and Darryl Banton then combined to make a break before Gilmour boomed another kick to touch.
Again Burton conceded a penalty, which was to become a theme of the afternoon.
Kenilworth were able to make it beyond halfway before a Dutton choke tackle regained possession for the Crofters.
Banton then sniped and Burton were soon five metres from the visitors’ try-line.
Kenilworth twice conceded penalties as the hosts maintained the pressure.
Joe Briggs went close to scoring before Dutton barged over for the first try.
Banton allowed for the strong wind with his kick, but the ball failed to change course and slipped wide of the left upright.
Sam Smith, in his return appearance on loan, was next to break the line, but a tap tackle halted his progress.
The pitch was surprisingly dry, however the strong wind was having an effect and it held up a Gilmour cross-kick before Kenilworth countered and booted deep. Harry Titley secured the loose ball five metres out, only for support players to go off their feet.
The visitors took a quick tap and crossed for a try to level up the match – and parity remained following the unsuccessful kick.
As half-time approached, Burton conceded a flurry of penalties for offside, but the visitors were unable to capitalise.
Will Brooks snaffled a Kenilworth line-out and Sam Benjamin launched a counter-attack. However, the move broke down and Brooks limped off the pitch to be replaced by Tom Harris.
Debutant Liam Hucknell replaced Briggs on the flank, and in the second period Burton came close to breaking the deadlock when Matt Tivey shrugged off a few defenders.
The ball was sent out to the right wing only for the last pass to be knocked on.
Burton looked by far the more lively side with Betty, Burrough, Josh Cartwright, Tom Murphy, Dutton and Tivey all getting their hands on the ball.
A penalty was awarded in front of the posts and Banton kicked the Crofters into an 8-5 lead before he was replaced by youngster Eddie Nicholls.
The wind then changed direction, giving the visitors a tailwind – and Kenilworth began to enjoy the territorial advantage.
Burton defended well. Cartwright stole a line-out while Nicholls employed an effective kicking game.
It looked as if the storm had been weathered before Kenilworth chose to kick a penalty from 35 metres.
The three-point attempt dissected the posts and the visitors were level with less than 20 minutes to play.
Burrough chased the kick-off and secured turnover ball.
Betty, Benjamin and Harris combined well, taking the ball within five metres of the Kenilworth line.
A deliberate knock-on from a defender halted the move – and the watching faithful feared it might not be Burton’s day.
But with 10 minutes remaining a solid Burton scrum gave a platform to attack, and Betty picked a great line to cross for a try. Boden was given kicking duty, but the wind was now so strong it proved a thankless task.
Three minutes later Gilmour kicked deep and Benjamin chased hard to tackle the Kenilworth full-back.
Burton turned the ball over and moved play infield, and Burrough crashed over to score and give the Crofters some welcome breathing space with a 10-point advantage.
Hucknell then ran the kick-off back to halfway. A sweeping Burton move took play to the right wing and then back in-field.
Gilmour threw out a long pass to Betty, who switched with Titley towards the left wing. Boden was in support and wriggled over the line for a fantastic bonus point-securing try.