Somerset Premier

Weston-super-Mare 2nds 26, Burnham-on-Sea 2nds 28

THE Stags took the short trip over to Weston on Friday night for what turned out to be tough local derby, writes Lee Berry.

The match started brightly under the light for the Stags as Will Hopkins latched on to Tim Piper's pass and crashed over for a try which Piper converted.

Weston soon responded shorty after the restart and levelled the score.

The Stags always knew this would be a physical match and stuck with the game plan, which frustrated Weston, who were penalised various times.

The first yellow card was given to the hosts and the Stags opted for a scrum again, from which they drove over the line and Sam Lewis pounced on the loose ball from the back of scrum to score the second try which Piper converted.

Weston came straight back at the visitors but nothing really came of it and soon Burnham were back in the home 22.

The ball was somewhere amongst many forwards then out popped Sam Wall, who ran in to score and extend the lead after 30 minutes as Piper converted again.

Stef Pierce was next to touch down for the all-important bonus point try - Piper added the extras for a 28-7 lead.

A moment of madness came soon after and the Stags kicked away the ball only for it to land in the Weston winger's hands - the hosts recycled quickly and went over to reduce the deficit to 28-14.

The second half got underway and the penalty count seemed to have swapped sides as Burnham began to give away possession and territory.

From a Stags knock-on, Weston's back three set off down the flank at an almighty pace and scored a try which went unconverted.

Replacement Jacob Allen was sin-binned and Burnham lost control a little as Weston kept banging on the door.

Many penalties were awarded against the visitors and Weston could sense the try line once again.

Weston's centre scored in the dying minutes of the game but the clock had ran out, thankfully for The Stags.

With only three league games remaining The Stags sit in second place and take on Nailsea & Backwell next Saturday, which will be another tough test for this ever improving group of players.

Wiveliscombe's defeat at Minehead, meanwhile, means Burnham still have an outside chance of sneaking the title - they are 11 points behind with a game in hand.

Burnham skipper Ross McKechan said: "It was definitely a game of two halves.

"In the first, we were controlled, executed the plays well and looked very dangerous, scoring four very good tries.

"The set piece was solid and they were continuously on the back foot, which made things very difficult for them.

"We gifted them two relatively cheap tries, which made the half time score line appear to be tighter than it actually was.

"The second half started slowly and Weston had a bit more about them.

"They scored from nothing and suddenly things became quite tense and we lost control a little bit.

"The discipline was poor, conceding way over 10 second half penalties, which gifted them territory.

"They kept knocking and knocking but some of the first up tackles were quality.

"Eventually, after some bizarre refereeing and a number of penalties, they got the try, leaving the game at 26-28.

"We played some good rugby and the second half showed how resilient we have become and highlights how far we have come since last season."