Somerset Premier
Imperial 7, Burnham-on-Sea 36

BURNHAM-ON-SEA made it a year unbeaten in the league with a convincing win at Imperial on Saturday, writes Lee Berry.

The Stags lost this fixture last season so were aiming to improve on that and increase the gap between them and second-placed Nailsea & Backwell.

Burnham showed they meant business from the kick-off and put the hosts under pressure.

An Imps lineout was stolen by the visitors just inside the 22 and Richard Muskett came charging in at pace to receive from Tim Piper and smash through the defence to score the first try of the game, which was unconverted.

Imperial struggled with the pace the Stags were playing at and, after using the width of the pitch and showing good handling skills, top try scorer Ryan Beard was set free to add his name to the scoreboard.

Piper added the extras to open up a 12-0 lead.

Imps used some intelligence from the restart and starved the visitors of possession as they gained territory up the park with some classic forwards play, going through the phases with pick and goes and crash balls.

A scrum was awarded to Imps on the 5m line which only meant one thing to them, a classic push to the line and score, and score they did.

The conversion brought the deficit back to five points but Imps’ discipline let them down on many occasions throughout the match and Piper added a further three points from a penalty just inside the 22.

Only a couple of minutes later, Ash Cutter found himself bulldozing his way through and over the whitewash.

Piper added the conversion to make it 22-7.

The move leading to the try of the match then started inside the Stags half with Piper slicing his cross-field kick which was plucked away from the Imps winger by George Goodall, who was eventually tackled.

The ball was recycled quickly by Sam Lewis, who spotted loosehead Stef Pierce, who managed to force his way over taking two Imps players with him.

Piper added the extras on the stroke of half-time.

For 35 minutes of the second half, very little happened and the next score did not arrive until there were just four minutes remaining.

Conor Howard opened his legs, galloping down the flank, and was tackled inside the 22, where the ball went loose in the tackle.

A Burnham boot hacked the ball towards the try-line and full-back Alex Watkins pounced to score the last try of the game shortly before the final whistle, to seal Burnham’s 17th win from as many matches this season.

The Stags have now not tasted defeat in a league game since the match at Wiveliscombe on January 12, 2019.

With Nailsea - Burnham’s nearest challengers in the Somerset Premier standings - losing 37-17 at Yatton on Saturday, the gap between the top two is now a massive 23 points.

The Stags are without a league fixture this coming Saturday, meaning that they return to action on Saturday, February 1, away to fifth-placed Minehead Barbarians.

Burnham’s 2nd XV, who have not played since January 11, do have a game this Saturday, however.

It sees the Stags - ninth in Somerset 2 South - visit Taunton to take on eighth-placed Wyvern.


THERE was more good news for Burnham this week, as they were named as Front Row Club Rugby’s ‘team of the week’.

The organisation supports the Atlas Foundation, founded by ex-England player Jason Leonard, which aims to “bring positive change to children around the world through the power of rugby”.