08:00 Friday 13 December 2013

Burton RFC v Walsall: Match preview

Written byDAVID BROOME

BURTON RFC will be without skipper Josh Cartwright for their crunch promotion clash tomorrow.

The second-placed Crofters welcome third-placed Walsall to Peel Croft, kick-off 2.15pm, for a match that could go a long way to deciding who claims a Midlands 1 West play-off place.

But Cartwright, who was replaced four minutes into the second half of last weekend’s narrow win over Stoke, is not in the team for the crucial tie.

Victory tomorrow would take Burton more than 10 points clear of Walsall ahead of the three-week Christmas break in league fixtures.

The Crofters successfully bounced back from their second defeat of the season to beat Stoke, helped hugely by a red card that reduced their hosts to 14 men.

Dave Archer returned to the squad after an injury-enforced absence and slotted 17 points – more than half his team’s total.

Archer is in the squad for tomorrow’s game, which sees Matt Tivey replace Cartwright as skipper for the day.

Secretary Clare Bradley said: “This afternoon is the opening game of the second half of the season.

“Our visit to Delves Road in September resulted in a 27 17 victory for Burton in a hard-fought game, and there is no doubt that the contest this afternoon will be played in a similar manner.

“Obviously this is the last home game of 2013, which has been quite a year for the club.

“Sadly we have lost some stalwarts and there have been quite a few challenging scenarios for the administrative team to deal with.

“However there are many positives including Project Genesis, a new president, the return of girls/ladies rugby, James Gibbons’ Premiership debut, Dominic Taylor’s Navy versus Army debut, and Under-17 and Colts’ Cup wins to name just a few.

“Additionally we are sitting second in the league and the Under-18s are in the last 16 of the National Cup.

“So we have plenty to look forward to in 2014.”

BURTON XV: Murphy, Burroughs, Tivey (c), Harris, Gazzard, Varney, Cook, Dutton, Banton, L Peach, Baum, Betty, Archer, Marshall, Titley; replacements: Neethling, Gilmour, Hucknall.

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