Somerset Premier
Burnham-on-Sea 76, Avon 7

WITH 2019 coming to a close, it’s fair to say that Burnham-on-Sea RFC have had an emphatic year, with 14 wins from 14 so far this season, writes Lee Berry.

The Stags now have 24 consecutive league wins, also winning the Somerset Vase back in April.

What better way to end the year than with a 76-7 thumping of Avon; this fixture is generally a close one but Avon struggled with the Stags’ firepower right from the kick-off.

Outside centre Josh Holder was on song as he scored more tries in one game than in previous seasons - a hat-trick.

Ryan Beard shrugged off illness to bag a brace of tries, as did veteran Tim Piper, who scored a total of 26 points in the game.

The Stags were ruthless in all areas for 80 minutes, whether it was from a set-piece or in open play.

Holder and Beard outpaced the Avon backline at every opportunity, while inside centre Will Hopkins scored a sublime individual try by chasing his own kick from within the Avon 10m area.

Piper proved he’s got plenty left in him by tricking the opposition with his audacious dummies, and captain Ross McKechan and full-back Alex Watkins also got on the scoreboard in the first half to take the score to 43-0 at half-time.

Avon conceded a further 33 points in the second half but did manage to avoid the whitewash with a converted try of their own.

Scrum-half Sam Lewis was proving a handful, showing his blistering pace as he broke through the defence on numerous occasions, scoring one and setting up Piper for his second.

Further tries came from No 8 Ash Cutter, Beard with his second and Holder gaining his hat-trick just before the final whistle.

Over the last 14 games, the Stags have amassed 571 points, have the best defence in the league by conceding only 151 points, and they have a 10-point lead over nearest rivals Nailsea & Backwell at the top of the table.

This is the most successful group of players the club has ever had, and it has taken only 18 months to rebuild after relegation in the 2017/18 season (only four wins from 26 games).

The team have come a long way with their grit, determination, tenacity and determination to put the bad times behind them.

Burnham return to action on Saturday, January 4, with a trip to fifth-placed Yatton.