Aldwinians 8 Burnley 7
The Audenshaw side edge out the visitors with a last minute penalty to secure their first league points of the season.
With memories of the 20-30 away cup victory over Burnley still sharp in the mind from two weeks ago-that flowing display of first half of rugby , and their opponents strong recovery in the second half,-there was much to consider as both teams took to the field at Audenshaw Park.
Heavy rain greeted the players with Aldwinians turning out a pack that showed significant changes again for the third week in succession, but a more settled back line.The early exchanges looked ominous for the home side as Burnley sought to build on their opening league match victory over Hawcoat Park.Two early penalties against Aldwinians for forward infringements and then the first scrum sent in reverse had them on the defensive.This trend continued for the first 18 minutes, but Aldwinians defence was excellent and Burnley failed to convert their pressure into points.
Turning defence into attack, the backs under the team captaincy of Callum McMahon for the day, took the game into Burnleys half for a period of pressure for 10 mins but they found their opponents defence as resolute as their own.The stalemate was broken in the 37th minute when scrum half Gethin Edwards, beavering around the base released his backs to the right around half way.A sweeping move upfield caught Burnley off guard and neat interpassing led to Callum McMahon retaking the final pass to stride out to the line for a fine try for a 5-0 half time lead.
The second period started more positively for the home pack who drove on for Burnley to concede a penalty, win the resulting line out, and the backs pressed down the right.However, the optimism was short lived when the first response from the visiting pack was not closed down early enough ,giving momentum to their attack and a try on 50 minutes, converted for a 5-7 lead. Credit to the Aldwinians forward pack,they absorbed continued pressure until the hour mark preventing Burnley from making the inroads achieved in the second half of the cup game, and survived a penalty kick at goal,until territorial advantage started to change.
Opportunities were created for the three quarters but overanxiousness led to a few dropped passes when tries looked likely. Reflecting back, the team only scored a second half penalty in their previous Burnley cup encounter, but to do the same this week, would have a more profitable outcome. That opportunity came in the 78 min when pressure in mid field on the 22 line generated a Burnley mistake and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. James Worrall made no mistake with his kick and Aldwinians had the lead at 8 -7.A nervous final count down which included a missed do or die 45 mtre penalty attempt from Burnley brought the game to a winning end.
Other results – the 2nds beat Capenhurst 1st 40-52 , the 3rds went down 0-28 at home to Old Bedians 2nd, and the 4ths overcame Village Spartans 2nd 12-24.On Sunday the u18 Colts went to Preston Grasshoppers and won 10-26.We wish a speedy recovery to prop James Sharples who was taken to hospital with a head injury in that game.