Tribute Somerset Premier

Avon 26, Burnham-on-Sea 29

BURNHAM-ON-SEA won at Avon for the first time in a decade with a narrow victory on Saturday, writes Lee Berry.

The game started with high intensity and The Stags were forcing Avon to defend for several minutes then were awarded a penalty which Tim Piper converted.

Avon were not going to be any push over on their own patch; they were strong in the scrums and dogged at the breakdown.

This gave them the platform to pressurise the visitors and took the lead by scoring from within their own half to make it 7-3.

Both teams began to settle with Avon having good possession of ball and testing The Stags' defence on numerous occasions.

Both teams exchanged missed penalties but it was the visitors who added more points to the scoreboard with Scott Havercroft scoring out wide after several phases of play.

With more possession for The Stags, they began to make yards towards the Avon try line but quick line speed, solid in the loose and strong tackling Avon kept The Stags out shortly before half-time.

Changes were made at half-time with Chris Warner coming on at tight head and Jude Donnelley on the wing.

The scrums settled and the tide changed as The Stags had good possession of ball and it wasn't long until The Stags extended the lead with Stef Pierce scoring and Piper adding the extras to go 15-7 up.

Shortly after, The Stags were awarded a penalty and Piper kicked to touch.

The ball was thrown long and inside centre Will Hopkins used his foot skills to control the ball, gathered and hit the oncoming Avon defence.

He produced the most audacious offload to the supporting Piper who scored under the posts and converted his own try.

Avon are a tenacious team and possession was with them.

They clawed back 14 points with two converted tries to bring the score to 21-22.

The Stags were not going to repeat last year's performance, where they let slip a large lead, so were straight back in Avon territory.

A few phases of play saw Donnelley sucking in the oncoming defence and passing out wide to Scott Havercroft who bagged his second try of the game with only five mins to go.

Piper was helped by the crossbar to get the conversion - 21-29.

Avon never gave up and brought the score to 26-29 with four minutes to go.

Avon managed to regain possession from the restart and pinned The Stags in their own half for the remaining minutes of the game but the visitors held out to seal a tough away win.

Man of the Match was awarded to Chris Warner.

On Saturday, The Stags are home to Yatton.

Burnham captain Ross McKechan said: "It was a positive result on Saturday after an inconsistent performance.

"In parts, we were far too much for them and opened them up at will.

"But we were poor for periods of the game, which allowed them to get back into it.

"In the end, we deserved the win and did well to see out the game.

"We can take a lot from getting five points at Avon, which is, and always has been, a hard place to go."