Somerset Premier
Nailsea & Backwell 3, Burnham-on-Sea 10

BURNHAM-ON-SEA took a big step towards claiming the Somerset Premier title on Saturday, with a hard-fought win away to nearest rivals Nailsea & Backwell.

Unsurprisingly for a match which pitted second against first, the teams were well-matched in the first half, with the defences on top and the majority of the play in the centre of the pitch.

The deadlock was broken shortly after the half-hour mark, when Nailsea kicked a penalty, and it remained 3-0 at half-time.

The Stags were content with that scoreline, knowing that they would be playing down the slope in the second half, with the wind behind them.

They pinned the hosts back for most of the half, but were met by some determined Nailsea defence.

Burnham were on the board 10 minutes into the second period, as they won a scrum against the head 5m out, the ball was worked out to the backs and Will Hopkins finished it off for an unconverted try.

The second, decisive, try came after the home side lost possession, and the ball was hacked loose and eventually collected by Tim Piper, who jumped over a Nailsea player on the floor and flew over the try-line like a salmon going upstream.

The hosts piled on the pressure in the last 10 minutes, but the Stags defended resolutely to secure the points.

The result leaves Burnham 18 points clear at the top of the table, having won 16 out of 16 in the league so far this season.

Nailsea remain second, and they do have one game in hand on the leaders, but this looks like a decisive result.

This coming Saturday sees the Stags travel to Imperial (2.30pm).

Their hosts sit sixth in the standings, but Burnham expect another tough game.

Burnham captain Ross McKechan told the Weekly News: “It was a really good battle [at Nailsea].

“We worked well without the ball and kept any attack that they had at bay.

“They didn’t ever look like scoring.

“When we had the ball, we looked the more dangerous of the two sides.

“Our scrum gave us a great platform and we managed to use it to gain territory and good field position.

“With people injured and playing out of position, we showed no sign of slipping up by putting in a controlled performance on the road against second in the league.

“We have to keep the ball rolling this weekend at Imperial.”


BURNHAM 2nd XV were beaten 69-10 away to Chard 2nds on Saturday, leaving them ninth out of 12 teams in Somerset 2 South.

They are without a fixture this coming Saturday, returning to action away to seventh-placed Wyvern on January 25.