Buxton 1st XV 27, Burton 2nd XV 13
PRE-SEASON effort and commitment paid off in Saturday’s game against Burton 2nd XV, who fielded several regular first-team players from a club which plays three levels higher than Buxton.
Buxton set their stall out early with good attacking play. A clean line break by Holliday resulted in Buxton being awarded a penalty which was converted by Fireman-Bulger. Burton, however, hit back immediately with a penalty of their own.
The quality of Buxton’s set-piece stood out with young props Pullen and Lomas providing the cornerstone of the scrum and solid lifting in the line-out. It was from here that McCoy and Edge provided the foundation to mount numerous attacks, causing Burton again to impede in the ruck and concede another penalty, converted by Fireman-Bulger. From the ensuing restart, Burton again hit back with a penalty to tie the scores at 6-6.
All Buxton players secured and recycled the ball consistently and played with a selfless attitude and commitment. This allowed the back three of Ives, Bartram and Greg Mellor to handle the ball on several occasions. On one such occasion the ball was passed early through the hands of Scott, Bartram and then finally to Greg Mellor who with a nifty sidestep showed his opposite winger a clean pair of heals to score a brilliant converted try.
Burton again hit back at Buxton. However, Buxton’s best first half for five seasons was epitomised by the final play of the half where Rabbits put his body on the line with a brave try-saving, head-on tackle, quickly supported by Storer and DeGroot who counter rucked and forced the Burton attacker to hang onto the ball and concede a penalty.
The beginning of the second half demonstrated the strength indepth and the quality that the Burton side posed as they forced Buxton to concede several penalties and pinned Buxton back in their own half. However, Buxton’s desire to win was never in doubt and Greg Mellor again demonstrated that commitment and effort with a gutsy tackle from his own kick and chase on an opposite player twice his size running flat out. Burton pressure led to Buxton still continuing to leak penalties, and the visitors eventually hit back with a converted try to level the scores.
Buxton did not alter their style and continued to move the ball through the hands. The introduction of Hodgson, Austin, and Kyle Mellor began to ask questions of the Burton defence. Through their backline, Buxton penetrated the Burton defence frequently. On one occasion, the final pass did not go to hand, but was instead hacked on by Waters who gathered the ball under the posts to score a converted try.
Buxton continued to dominate and DeGroot found himself in space, after braking through a Burton tackler, and released Waters to sprint in under the posts to score his second converted try.