Burtonwood Bulldogs 56
Accrington Panthers 6
The brand new Accrington Panthers under 15s side travelled to Warrington's Burtonwood Bulldogs in their first ever game of Rugby League on Saturday.
The game started with the inexperienced Panthers kicking off and Burtonwood making good use of their first set of six tackles, scoring a converted try in the opening minute. The Bulldogs then hit back again with their second try on 3 minutes. The shellshocked Panthers struggled to get out of their own half with their first go with the ball and Burtonwood again made them pay with well executed back line moves and scrum plays again resulting in scores. Following this the Panthers seemed to come out of their shell. Despite being under constant pressure they lifted defensively and saw off wave after wave of Burtonwood attacks with centre dalton scott
and second rower Nathan York
making some decisive tackles. Now, with some possession of their own the young Accrington side made good yards forward through forwards Lewis Sharples
, Nathan York
and Jack O'Hara
with captain Robbie Willets guiding his team well. If not for the young Panthers inexperience they would have crossed the opposition line during this period but handing the ball over at crucial times ultimately cost them and eventually Burtonwood capitalised and crossed for their 5th of 6 first half tries.
Half time - 36 - 0
The second half started in much the same way as the first, with Burtonwood crossing early. Undeterred though the Panthers re-grouped and showed that they were growing into the game. Some excellent go forward from Sharples,O'Hara and Tom Boys took the Panthers deep into the Bulldogs half. Led by ball-playing trio Davies, Willets and Harwood Accrington crossed for a well deserved try through Prop forward Smith. Willets converting from out wide to post the first points for the newly formed side. Great work around the ruck by hooker Nathan Davies split the Burtonwood defence wide open again moments later with Davies tearing up field in a 50 meter raid only for his pass to supporting centre Max Whittle
to drift forward and be pulled back by the referee. It was now the Panthers turn to work hard in defence with Burtonwood coming back strongly, but fantastic scrambling efforts particularly from Scott kept them out. However the Panthers didn't take advantage, dropping the ball close to their line a number of times. With Burtonwood hammering the Accrington line they eventually broke through the tiring defence to score twice in 10 minutes. The last try came in the last minute under controversial circumstances when the Burtonwood hooker knocked the ball on twice before dropping over the line, the referee apparently missing the infringement and awarding the try. Final score Burtonwood Bulldogs 56 Accrington Panthers 6
After the match coach Mark Brindle
said "Considering these lads have only been together for 4 or 5 weeks I'm pleased with the result. Burtonwood are a good outfit who have been together for a number of years, we showed real spirit and got better and better as the game went on. We'll only improve as the season kicks on and we learn from these lessons".