BURTON A produced the perfect response to the previous week’s defeat at Newport Salop with a 25-5 victory over Loughborough at Peel Croft.
The Crofters squad contained a blend of youth and experience with youngsters Ant Dicker and Will Smith making their senior debut at prop.
Burton kicked off deep into Loughborough territory and strong carries by veteran Jon Drage, Ben Burchell and Varney kept the visitors under constant pressure.
After 10 minutes a series of quick rucks set up field position for centre Leason to step through the defence and jink his way over from 20 metres out.
Marshall missed the conversion.
The Loughborough scrum was causing the hosts a few problems as they struggled to gain superiority.
But that facet of the game was Loughborough’s only real source of clean possession, with Burton defending well and Peach and Varney tidying up around the base of the scrum.
A strong carry from Burchell and then Gazzard again put Loughborough under pressure – testing the away defence.
Burton eventually gained good field position with a line-out five metres from the Loughborough line.
A strong catch and drive from the pack produced a strong forwards try – unconverted – to leave the score 10–0 at the interval.
After half-time a poor restart then prompted the visitors to enjoy their best period of the game.
Loughborough enjoyed a prolonged period of pressure on the Crofters line – aided by repeated penalties from the hosts at the breakdown.
Eventually the pressure led to Loughborough’s solitary try with Burton failing to clear the pressure and conceding a soft score.
However, the away try galvanised the Crofters who rang the changes.
Dicker replaced McRobbie on the wing, with Cross and Knight brought into the back row.
They were immediately into the action, scavenging the ball, and allowing Drage, Gazzard and Reeve to make strong breaks.
From a line-out on the 10-metre line Drage broke, making 20 yards before finding his supporting players.
The ball was recycled through several pairs of hands before winger Jack Handy fed Gav Worth for an easy run-in.
Burton continued to exert pressure in the final 20 minutes, showing their superior fitness and organisation.
From another maul Burton walked the ball over the line for another unconverted score.
In the dying minutes a good return kick by Reeve, and carries by the forwards, saw them exerting pressure on the Loughborough line.
Gazzard was the beneficiary, crashing over from a yard out with the last play of the game to leave the final score 25-5 in the Crofters’ favour following a solid all-round display of rugby from Saturday’s hosts.