THREADBARE Uttoxeter suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of promotion-chasing Burntwood on Saturday.
Injuries and player unavailability had blighted the Oldfields side in recent weeks, and the squad was left with just one substitute at the weekend.
Uttoxeter started brightly and soon got themselves in a good position following some powerful running through Uttoxeter’s pack – most notably Dave Chell and Laurence Paull.
With Uttoxeter playing downhill Paul Milward repeatedly kicked into the corners. And with winger James Gill and Tom Gallimore chasing down Burntwood were pinned in their own 22.
Uttoxeter were awarded an early penalty, and as Woolley pondered his options Burntwood were marched back a further 10 metres for dissent.
Woolley opted for goal but Milward dragged his effort wide.
Burntwood responded with a breakaway try, which proved a recurring theme over the course of the game.
The lowest point in the half for the visitors was an interception try.
Milward picked from a ruck and ran open. He looked for support and delayed his pass.
It was easily read by was read by Burntwood’s number 10, who made the interception and sprinted in from the halfway line.
In spells Uttoxeter looked dangerous, with the backline running some sharp lines.
Tom Sherratt and Henry Knox made a number of line-breaks, but the hosts quickly reorganised and Uttoxeter were unable to break through.
Uttoxeter went in at half time 36-0 down, and facing the slope in the second period.
Burntwood kicked off and claimed their own kick, before quickly spinning wide. The ball passed through hands, enabling Burntwood’s centre to cross the line for an excellent team try.
And when Burntwood scored again within a few minutes it looked like the floodgates were beginning to open.
However, Uttoxeter woke up and began to put a few phases together,
From a Uttoxeter scrum – one of the few areas in which the visitors were dominant – the pack drove for the line.
Craig Goodall controlled at the base, before Burntwood collapsed the scrum, giving Uttoxeter a penalty try.
Milward added the extras to make the score 50-7.
Burntwood crossed the line next following a counter-attach from a poor Uttoxeter clearance.
Uttoxeter showed further spirit with another excellent try from the pack, with Milward touching down and then converting his own try.
But Burntwood had the final say with another score in the final minutes.