Burnham robbed of victory
By Niall Hornett
1st Team lose by a single point
Start of October, and a glorious day as the first team headed to Basildon in what was an important match for both sides. Burnham fielded a changed side with a number of players not available. That said, the back-line had a familiar set-up, and overall this was still a decent looking line-up.
Burnham were clearly giving a little in size on the pack, but this team has a bit of grit and determination behind it. The game kicked off, and surprisingly Burnham were a little slow and flat from the start. A far cry from the blistering start they had set against Bancroft the previous week. As a result they were caught napping, and in the 10th minute conceded a try. The conversion was missed. This seemed to galvanise Burnham into action, and the game turned into a competitive affair. Basildon were keen to use their forwards to "pick n go", whereas Burnham wanted to play open rugby through their backs. And it was the Burnham backs that finally turned through the screw on Basildon. In the 25th minute Tom Braybrook (hatrick hero from the pervious week!) broke through to go over for a try. A well deserved team effort. The resulting conversion by Tom Ford was straight out of the Jonny Wilkinson school of kicking, gloriously slotted over from a difficult angle. Burnham ahead 7-5. Nine minutes later, Captain Alan Gregory produced the type of aggressive running that makes opposing players quake. Demolishing one Basildon player he carved through a gap and over the line. This was more like it, Burnham slowly turning the screw. The try went unconverted, but Burnham were now 12-5 up, and only five minutes to the half. It should have been at that point that they tied up the half, and went for the break with the lead. However, Basildon had other ideas, and Burnham were caught napping leaking a try and a penalty in the last two minutes. It was a major frustration! Half-time Basildon 13, Burnham 12.
Second-half, and clearly both sides were starting to feel the effects of the warm weather and hard ground. Basildon (tactically some might say!) went to uncontested scrums in the 53rd minute. It was on the 60th minute that the controversy started, Burnham overturned a Basildon set piece in their own 22, and Conall Hornett broke one tackle with just the rest of the pitch to run. He was chased hard by a Basildon player, but not caught until he had placed the ball down over the try line. Try! and pretty much under the post. A seven pointer! Then, for what remains a complete mystery, the referee who was some way behind the play decided that he had dropped the ball. Clearly no-one on the field or the Basildon supporters could believe it. Either way, Basildon were awarded a five metre scrum, and lived to survive another day!. Burnham were deflated and angry. Braybrook, and Bennett managed to get themselves yellow cards, in some dubious decisions. Now, the character of the side was being tested. Could they hold it together?? Basildon upped the pressure but the Burnham defence held strong. In the 70th minute, a flowing move got the ball out to Tom Wright, and he didn't disappoint. Superb try, Burnham on the up again, and Tom Ford slots the conversion. Basildon 13, Burnham 20. Ten minutes left t play. Basildon however refused to lie down, and kept applying pressure back with their forwards and rolling mauls. It was on the 76th minute that the game was marred in it's second controversial moment. Burnham cleared their 22, the Basildon full-back then clearly knocked the ball forward. Instead, the referee allowed play to continue, Basildon then set-up a ruck, there was a further knock-on by a Basildon player, but they were allowed to continue, with bundled try over the line. What a shocker! Burnham were furious, and rightly so. Basildon then added salt to the wounds and converted the try. Basildon 21, Burnham 20. Burnham tried to rally, but just ran out of time. Final score Basildon 21, Burnham 20. What should have been a 5 point away win, ends up a 2 point loss.
That said, this team has character, guts and determination. They will only get better as the season continues.
Next week Burnham host a double-header against Witham with both 1's and 2's at home. Kick-off 3pm. Come down and support the team!