Somerset Premier

Burnham-on-Sea 13, Minehead Barbarians 9

THE Stags entered 2019 as they left 2018 and continue their winning streak, writes Lee Berry.

Minehead were keen to make amends after they were beaten on home turf in the reverse fixture and clearly had a game plan.

The Stags started the game with good possession but were struggling to find territory in the Minehead half as the away forwards slowed the ball down and forced several errors.

Several penalties were awarded to Minehead, who capitalised on the mistakes and the Stags found themselves 0-6 down after 20 minutes.

Warner came on for Nick McKen in the front row after 25 minutes and his presence was felt immediately in the scrums and around the park.

Minehead were kept in their own 22 for the next 10 minutes as the Stags began to play some attractive and expansive rugby but good defence by Minehead kept the home side out as the Babas took a 6-0 lead into the break.

With only five minutes gone in the second half, Burnham were awarded a penalty but some smart thinking from Piper saw him send a kick over the top which was chased by Tom Chaffey, who managed to dance his way through two defenders and pounce on the loose ball to give the Stags the first try of the game.

The Stags upped their game for the next 10 minutes and were awarded a penalty which Piper slotted over to take an 8-6 lead.

More changes were made with Tom Stevens coming on into the back row and Nick Mcken came back on for Sam Wall at Hooker.

Minehead were awarded another penalty for a deliberate knock-on, with Sam Chillingworth finding himself sat on the bench for the next minutes, and regained the lead.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, Burnham forced a 5m scrum and number eight Ash Cutter forced his way over to put the hosts 13-9 ahead.

The remaining 10 mins seemed like another 40 minutes but credit must go to these group of players, who held firm until the final whistle was blown

Motm: Chris Warner

On Saturday, Burnham travel to league leaders Wiveliscombe.

Stand-in skipper Tim Piper told the Weekly News: “We were a bit rusty having not played for three or four weeks.

“We had quite a few absentees and really had to dig it out.

“Our effort in the last 10 minutes epitomises what we are about this year.

“Last year we probably would have folded and ended up losing the game, but now we have a real fighting spirit and a determination not to lose games.

“It’s up to us now to keep this form up.

“Each game is as tough as the next one in this league but the pressure is all on them [Wiveliscombe] on Saturday - we just want to go there and play our normal game.

“A few of us know from past experience that when you are at the top you are there to be shot at.

“It’s a big opportunity for our younger players who have not been in this position before to show what they can do.

“We have a couple of tough selections to make - we should be fielding our strongest side of the season - and we will go there with confidence.”

Burnham have been drawn at home to Cheltenham Saracens in the National Senior Vase semi-final.

The tie will take place on Saturday, February 2 - meaning the Somerset Cup semi-final against Castle Cary will be rescheduled.