With all of the Bolton University players away at weekend, numbers were looking a bit light for the weekends game. Where were all of our returning University players ? Fortunately help was at hand. Our Under 17's have finished a successful season and 4 of them elected to play their first senior game for the club. Their coach/manager was playing to make sure we looked after them. But they didn't need any looking after. They slotted into the team like old pro's and all four had outstanding games. Nathan Stansfield at flanker was untroubled all afternoon and took every opportunity to run at the visiting team. Alex Temple was on fire on the wing, topping his performance with a fine try. Nathan Biggins took time to settle in, but one class tackle pinned the Burnley full back on his own line allowing Bolton to maintain their pressure. Gareth Pritchard, coming on as sub, was highlighted by the referee as looking very promising and he too went over for a try.
Burnley attacks were mainly limited to their bullish inside centre, but he was stopped every time by the Bolton defence. Their number 8 was also a key player, but an injury to him late in the first half, snuffed out that opportunity.
Bolton, as normal, were prepared to run the ball from anywhere on the park. On one occasion, Keith Howie
made the initial break and drew the centre, releasing Les Towler
to sprint for the line (from inside his own half). The dummy pass to the winger (in hindsight not the best option) split the Burnley defence wide open leaving the only option to still keep sprinting for the line. As the line drew closer, so did the pursuing defence, leaving the only choice to pass to his supporting winger. To take the tackle. When questioned later as to why I had passed and not gone all the way for the line, I explained that as I would have been tackled anyway, I felt it was only right that I passed to allow the younger player to take the tackle. Two tries were added by Gaz Flounders who danced his way thru the struggling Burnley defence. The final try was scored by Kev Spencer who chose to run through 5 players to get to the line. Captain Howie added 3 penalties and 2 conversions. A "drop goal" attempt by former stand-off, Mark Higgins
, worried only the corner flag.
Team photo attached.