In blustery conditions at College Way Albion again exacted just revenge for a heavy defeat in the first half of the season at Burnham when overcoming the seasiders 49-33. Albion’s side once again showed several changes – both personnel and positional with Dan Steward making a late seasonal debut but to telling effect.
Albion immediately took advantage of the breeze in their favour with a long kick to Burnham’s corner. After Modrzynski’s initial thrust, Frost seized the initiative and crashed over. Another burst of close handling near Burnham’s line was just thwarted but after 8 minutes, excellent work by Hillman set up Devitt to drop a surprise goal to take Albion 8-0 ahead. Five minutes later the Burnham centres combined excellently to produce a try at the other end which was converted. It was all action with both sides counter-attacking at will when something broke down. After 18 minutes Albion’s kick to touch from a penalty produced their traditional catch and drive and Modrzynski scored the first of his four tries. Great work again by Hillman who was outstanding throughout saw him burst through and after the forwards had linked up, Modrzynski again jinked his way over for his second. Hillman, Modrzynski and Frost then combined excellently to send Devitt away with two men outside him but the centre chose to step inside and the cover grabbed him. Half time arrived with Albion in control and 18-7.
Burnham’s task was to keep the ball away from Albion’s rampaging forwards as their back line showed considerable promise. Frost was ruling the roost at the front of the line-out, taking several of Burnham’s throws in. Both Frost and Modrzynski started the second half in the same style as they had ended the first but it was the visitors who snatched the initiative by scoring first in this half when in the fourth minute they attacked strongly up the middle to score a fine goal to reduce the arrears to just 4 points. In the 51st minute Albion were awarded two free kicks in quick succession. Burnham stopped Norman’s burst from both of them but could not prevent Hillman deservedly touching down and this time Steward took over the kicking duties and the conversion crept over the bar. Burnham hit back immediately, taking a short kick-off and releasing their backs again to score in the corner. Steward produced a delightful half break in midfield which his fellow backs carried on and Coates crossed in the corner to give Albion a 30-19 lead. Coates, Buller and Norman then combined neatly through the middle of the field to send Steward over for a try. With 15 minutes left the game looked running Albion’s way but Burnham had other ideas and hit back with a long breakaway which produced a try near the posts for a further 7 points. In the 70th minute Modrzynski took on half of the Burnham side who could not hold him and completed his hat trick. Steward’s nicely judged conversion adding the extras. Burnham yet again showed their pluck and hit back with another fine converted try. Albion and Modrzynski had the last word with the No. 8’s fourth try of the afternoon in typical bustling fashion and Steward once again bisected the uprights – just.
Eight tries to Albion and five to Burnham in a thoroughly entertaining game. Albion will admit that they probably had the best of the refereeing decisions with Burnham seeing yellow cards on two occasions but Albion’s pack was in commanding form throughout. The backs also played their part with some gritty defence against some useful Burnham outsides. It is surprising to think that Albion had lost to the same opponents very convincingly at Stoddens Road earlier in the season but once again showed what they could do when on top form.
Albion’s veteran Berry graced the last 12 minutes of this game in what was probably his final league appearance at College Way but what a way to end it.
Albion now go to the league leaders Wyvern on 11 April which will be testing. That technically completes the season but the Dirtrackers are hoping to arrange a match on 18 April to mark Berry’s farewell.
Team: Ward; Croker Devitt Buller Coates; D Steward Page; Modrzynski Frost Walker Buck Norman Moulding Hillman Ruddle. Replacements: Used – Berry Pearce. Unused – Milburn McCarthy.
Scorers: – Tries – Frost Modrzynski (4) Hillman Coates Steward. Conversions – Steward (3). Dropped Goal – Devitt.