10 Try Thiller as Avon Clinch Another Bonus Point Win
By Steve Bird
Avon fought back to edge a 37-31 win against an impressive Burnham side to present coach Kai Harwood with an excellent birthday present.
An error strewn first half from Avon gifted Burnham 2 tries after they capitalised on a knock on from a lineout then took advantage of a midfield interception to clock up 2 converted tries. Avon struck back as they moved play upfield and Jonny Batchelor stepped inside to shrug off the tacklers for a try which he also converted.
After a good spell of Avon pressure, Batchelor then added a penalty before the visitors extended their lead with their 3rd try as they picked off an overlap out wide. The topsy-turvy nature of the game continued as half breaks from Tom Boreham then Alex Gapper sucked in the defence before Zak Harwood crashed over the tryline. Burnham collected their bonus point try shortly before half time as an inside pass from their fly half opened the home defence for another converted try to take an 11 point lead into the break.
In the second half, Avon gradually grew into the game as their pack started to dominate and denied Burnham’s dangerous runners any front foot ball. In turn, it was Avon’s opportunity to demonstrate their attacking prowess as swiftly recycled ball was transferred to powerful centre Harwood who again surged through for his second try, converted by Batchelor. Then Avon suddenly took the lead for the first time as the game entered the last quarter as the tireless Ian Burnell finished off a line out drive for a well-rehearsed try.
Burnham weren’t finished yet though and exploited some lax defence to regain the lead with their 5th try. With time running out, Avon increased their intensity and tested Burnham’s defence on both sides of the pitch before working the ball wide where prop Chris Mutlow produced an outrageous sidestep then outpaced the cover defence to score the winning try in the corner. Batchelor again slotted the touchline conversion then added a final penalty with the last act of an entertaining game as Burnham desperately tried to run out of their 22.
Afterwards, Kai Harwood said “I’m proud of the never-say-die attitude of this team who overturned a threatening deficit against some well-drilled opponents. The versatility of the players, epitomised by man-of-the-match Sam Book, also made light of several enforced changes from last week.”
Avon travel to take on Imperial next week whilst their 2nds host Oldfield 3rds.