Burton Vets overcame a lively Barton seconds at the Ox-Hay on Saturday.
There was a welcome back for Rob Ridley, who had not played since October last year, with the hosts putting out a strong starting XV, as well as seven replacements itching to get on.
Barton started the stronger side though, putting Burton under pressure straight from the kick off.
The visitors’ initial scrummaging was strong and took the Vets by surprise before wiser heads became accustomed to the frantic pace.
Burton were first to score as, after good first-phase ball from a line out secured by Ridley, the forwards made 10 metres and fed the mercurial Fred Hewitt, who beat two players before scoring out wide. The conversion was missed.
Burton’s second score came from the kick-off, as Ridley caught the ball before feeding Williams, and interplay between Ady Bullock and Ian Weakford set up Roger Bayes, who handed off two players to score the first of three tries.
Paul Hulland came off injured quite early, allowing powerful prop Dan Regan onto the field, while Bayes was rested as he was still recovering from his try, allowing Jack Dixon on at No 8.
The changes added more support around the park but it was evident from the front five that a lack of match fitness was telling.
The first half saw Barton’s back line knock-on on numerous occasions, and that issue transferred to the backs in the second half, even after experienced three-quarter Karl Ashfield entered the fray.
However, the hosts scored soon after the restart when Bayes, who sold an outrageous dummy, charged over.
Barton were not to be outdone though, and came back with two tries in quick succession from some good interplay that should have been stamped out.
This changed the match, which could have gone in a different direction if the Vets wrestled back control and upped the intensity.
By now, with all the subs on and things having settled down, Burton came back with two more scores, Bayes completed his hat-trick and Williams made a trademark run from the touchline after some powerful forward work and clearing out.
Barton ended the game with a powerful run from their full-back after a five-metre penalty, charging through two Burton players to touch down for a converted try to end the well-fought contest.