Although Albion had an abundance of players (98 players appeared in the Dirtrackers last season), few of the various combinations which permeated the afternoon were anything like successful. This was certainly a day out for the Steward family with father Larry and sons Dan and Olly on the Dirtrackers’ side and Lloyd appearing for Burnham – it was the latter who had the first and indeed the last laugh.
Burnham put Albion under notice that their backs were sharp and incisive when their wing raced through in the opening minutes and it took a great tackle by Albion’s full-back Ward to save the day. Albion were also conceding penalties and free kicks galore, allowing Burnham to maintain the pressure and they were rarely out of the Albion 22 in the opening quarter. In the 12th minute an errant Albion throw to a line-out gave a free ball to Burnham and when the loose was set up, there was Lloyd Stewart playing at No. 8 and he broke free down the blind side through some flimsy tackling to score in the corner for a try which was excellently converted. Two minutes later, Burnham’s stand-off raced straight through the Albion defence to score near the posts for another goal. Albion suddenly pepped up with some better tackling and with skipper Innalls leading by example. However in the 28th minute Burnham were next to score when their centre forced his way over. Albion had the better of the last ten minutes of the first half, working their way out of defence but further penalties kept Burnham in the ascendency to lead 19-0 at the interval.
Albion’s kick-off perhaps summed up their day as it failed to go the required distance but Buck showed direct purpose as did Taylor in the Bridgwater ranks. Albion were also engaging early at the scrums to the referee’s dissatisfaction and conceding free kicks. Burnham were unfortunate to be denied a try as their forwards drove continuously at the line and seemed to get over. Page, who had come on at half-time, battled well for Albion – often kicking on and causing the Burnham defence some rare panic. Burnham missed another certain try through poor passing with the Albion defence scrambled. Albion had rung the changes with 10 of their 11 replacements making the field, but sadly to no avail. In the final five minutes Burnham ran in two further tries which whilst harsh on Albion’s battling second half, was probably fair reward for the visitors’ continued endeavour. Firstly their centre burst through and crossed in the corner and then concentrated pressure near the line from their forwards produced the final try which was converted.
Albion clearly had the personnel to put matters right after these two disappointing heavy opening defeats and will certainly need to be on their mettle against high-riding Cheddar Valley next Saturday. However they need to improve their cohesion; their defence needs to be tightened; and above all they need to cease yielding unnecessary penalties and free kicks which cost them a lot of ground on Saturday.
Team: Ward; Burrows Barnett Smith McCarthy; D Steward Coates; O Steward Frost Buck Innalls Pearce Moulding Walker Ruddle. Replacements: Berry Stone L Steward Goddard Harbour Knott Trunks Fogg Taylor Page Huntley. Not used: Miller.