Somerset Premier
Yatton 24, Burnham-on-Sea 29

BURNHAM-ON-SEA were back in action after the festive break, looking to maintain their unbeaten run into 2020 as they took the short trip up north to Yatton, writes Lee Berry.

The Stags had the upper hand in the meeting back in September, beating Yatton 45-5.

The visitors made the brighter start here, too, but it was clear to see that both teams were still a bit rusty after the Christmas break, with various handling errors and infringements at the breakdown.

That said, the Stags soon made headway up the slope to put Yatton on the back foot.

With quick ball being produced, this allowed the backs to show what firepower and experience they had, with Tim Piper scoring his ninth try of the season.

A similar try was scored by winger Ryan Beard several minutes later to extend the lead, as Piper converted.

With Burnham once again camped in the Yatton 22, Beard powered through several defenders and crossed the line; he was tackled high and the referee awarded a penalty try, making the score 19-0 at half-time.

It was now Yatton’s turn to play up the slope and the Stags’ momentum continued as Will Hopkins received the ball at pace to waltz his way through three Yatton defenders and score.

Now trailing 24-0, many would have expected Yatton heads to drop, but they began to retain the ball well and it was the visitors’ turn to be on the back foot.

The home side broke through the ever-reliant Stags defence twice in short succession to claw back 12 points.

Yatton now had momentum and were helped further when Burnham second row Birkan Gunduz was shown a yellow for slam dunking an opponent.

But then the Yatton physio produced a moment of madness.

Burnham full-back Alex Watkins kicked from within his 22, the ball looked like it was leaving the field, but it had not gone into touch when the physio caught it.

The referee awarded a penalty and Piper kicked for touch; a catch and drive followed and, with Piper up to bolster the driving maul, he managed to score his second try of the game.

Yatton continued to push The Stags all the way and scored another two tries but, thankfully for the Stags, they were rescued by the final whistle.

So, 2020 has started well for the Stags - who now have 15 wins from 15 - and they are 15 points clear at the top of the Somerset Premier standings (second-placed Nailsea & Backwell not having a game last weekend).

Burnham cannot afford to be complacent, however; they have a tough month ahead, with away fixtures against Nailsea & Backwell (this coming Saturday) and seventh-placed Imperial, which is always a juicy encounter.


BURNHAM captain Ross McKechan told the Weekly News: “It was a mixed performance [against Yatton].

“We had large spells without the ball in the first half but defended well in parts, forcing lots of turnovers that led to some well-worked tries.

“In the second half, we started brightly, scoring almost immediately, and then took our foot off the gas and let them back into it with some poor defence and a fair bit of ill-discipline.

“However, it’s an important five points that keeps us going at the top of the table.

“We face Nailsea next week and will be working hard in the week to ensure we improve on our performance.”


BURNHAM-ON-SEA 2nd XV were unable to raise a side for last Saturday’s fixture at Castle Cary, in Somerset 2 South.

Ninth in the table, Burnham are scheduled to visit sixth-placed Chard 2nds this Saturday.