CAPTAIN Josh Cartwright hailed Burton’s ‘terrific’ backs after victory at Walsall ensured that the Crofters extended their winning start in Midlands One West.
Tries from Will Roach (2), Sam Benjamin and Lawrence Betty, in addition to a brace of Dave Archer conversions and a penalty, secured a 27-17 away win.
Cartwright said: “We’re happy with the result – it’s a good win.
“We’ve played here before, scored first and lost, and this is the first time we’ve won here in a few years.
“The whole team played well, but the backs were terrific.
“The three props in Ed Henry, Joe Briggs and Craig Dutton also put in a terrific shift so they can be happy with their performance.”
Straight from kick-off, Burton looked like they meant business, with Joe Gazzard retrieving the ball and making 10 yards.
He was brought down, but play remained in Walsall’s half.
Moments later Matt Boden handed off to Will Roach who burst through the hosts’ line of defence to score. Archer missed the conversion.
On six minutes, the Crofters should have scored again when Briggs found Ian Gilmour in the corner – but he spilled the ball before touching down.
The pace of the opening minutes soon dissipated, as both sides held their own in the middle of the park.
A chance for Burton arrived in the 30th minute when Walsall were penalised for failing to release. Archer stepped up but his penalty attempt flew wide.
Walsall almost made the visitors pay just before the interval.
With the ball deep in Burton territory Chris Mould found teammate Roger Weston, who handed off to Jack Crowhurst.
But the Burton defence were quick to react, and the hosts were penalised for not releasing as the half ended 5-0 in Burton’s favour.
The Crofters made changes at half time with Charl Neething and Laurence Betty coming on for Gazzard and Luke Peach.
Burton were immediately on the offensive upon the restart, and their attacking impetus paid dividends on 45 minutes.
Harry Titley broke through Walsall’s line and as he was closed down found Betty.
A sequence of passes between Betty, Archer and Boden followed before Roach received and touched down.
Archer failed with the conversion to keep the score at 10-0.
The hosts rallied and enjoyed possession in Burton territory.
Full-back Mould passed to Crowhurst, and the winger managed to skip around Ian Gilmour to score an unconverted try for 10-5.
Soon after, a saving tackle from scrum-half Darryl Banton kept the deficit to five points.
On 61 minutes Walsall restored parity. The home pack marched over the line and Jody Lane touched down.
Matt Wood missed the conversion to keep the score at 10 apiece.
Following the home try Burton introduced Joe Brooks for Gilmour, and the momentum of the game changed again – this time in Burton’s favour.
On 65 minutes the visitors were awarded a penalty after Walsall were penalised for diving in from the side.
Archer scored his first points of the day with the successful kick to put his side back in front.
Gazzard then returned to the pitch, coming on for Craig Dutton.
On 67 minutes Benjamin scored the try of the game.
He picked up the ball inside his own half before touching down under the posts in a fine individual effort – leaving the Walsall defenders trailing in his wake.
Archer converted to extend the lead to 20-10.
The game was put to bed when Benjamin found Titley who in turn released Betty to score Burton’s fourth try.
Archer converted to give the visitors a comfortable advantaged at 27-10.
The host’s scored a consolation try through Max Hughes – and Wood converted with the last kick of the game to make the final score 27-17.
BURTON: Murphy, Gazzard, Tivey, Cartwright (C), Roach, Henry, Briggs, Dutton, Banton, Peach, Benjamin, Titley, Archer, Boden, Gilmour.
WALSALL: Lane, Jones, Russ Gauden, Benson, Reeves, Halbert (C), Hughes, Simpson, Pittaway, Wood, Williamson, Weston, Wootton, Crowhurst, Mould.
REFEREE: Matthew Coultas (Nottingham).