Ronan O’Brien got the Brain Leigh Lancashire Trophy Final underway at a sunny Leigh Rugby Club, with a drop kick into the Burnage 22 which was taken well by Sean McRea under pressure. Plenty of noise was being made by both sets of supporters in the early minutes whenever their side had possession, making you fully understand how important this game was to both clubs.
Burnage got off to the best possible start when Ralph Lawson crossed the line for the games first try after 6 minutes. Moments before the try Broughton Park’s scrum half Tom Cox was shown a yellow card for deliberately knocking the ball forward and stopping a potential move down the left hand side. From the resulting lineout Henry Gong led a dangerous drive towards the line before Ralph Lawson broke through the defence to score. The conversion was missed but Burnage led 0-5.
Straight from the restart though referee, Rob Sheard penalised Burnage for being offside from a clearing kick of their own. O’Brien opted to go for the 3 points and he made no mistake from what looked like a difficult penalty to score from to make the scores 3-5.
Despite being a league below Burnage, Broughton Park were showing exactly why they have only lost once in their last 7 games. Andy Telford put the opposition ahead after a well worked move left an overlap down the right hand side and a simple finish for the right winger. O’Brien scored the conversion to put Broughton Park ahead on the score board.
The opening 20 minutes of this game saw lots of exciting and tense end to end action. Rhys Evans restored Burnage’s lead only a few minutes after they fell behind with a creative solo run from the 22m line following an excellent break from Andy Dowdall on his final Burnage game. The fly half added to his try with a brilliantly placed conversion to make the scores 10-12.
Burnage’s third try of the half came on the 25th minute, after a strong driving run from Ralph Lawson saw him evade a number of attempted tackles before scoring the try for the second time in this final. Rhys Evans couldn’t and didn’t miss the conversion to see the score board was again to show Burnage had a 10-19 advantage.
For the remaining 15 minutes of the first half, the ball was mainly controlled by Broughton Park and inside the Burnage half. With a few minutes left of the first half Matt Barrett was shown a yellow card for an offence inside the Burnage defending 22. Broughton Park decided to play quickly but despite only pressure to the try zone nothing came off the move and the referees whistle was an appreciated sound for Burnage who could breathe again after an impressive first half in both attack and defence.
Half Time: Broughton Park 10-19 Burnage
Broughton Park got the first set of points 10 minutes into the second half after Burnage were pinged by Rob Sheard just outside their 22. Yet again, O’Brien made no mistake in slotting the ball through the posts to make the scores 13-19 and narrow the gap of points to 6 points.
Broughton Park continued their dominance from the end of the first half into the majority of the second. With 25 minutes left to play, the yellow card was again on display, this time to Sean McRae for a similar offence to Tom Cox in the first half. Sean McRae was shown the yellow card for deliberately knocking the ball forward and denying Broughton Park a continuation of their move with extra players on the outside.
Burnage were finding it very difficult to gain possession of the ball and when they did most of the time it was kicked clear out of their half. An issue Broughton Park had for most of the game was scoring points to show for all their efforts and dominance. With 10 minutes to go though, they did though look to have found a way through after a run from their number 8; Paddy O’Donnell saw a hole in the Burnage line. However as he looked to capitalise it the Broughton Park captain was tackled and after fantastic teamwork Burnage managed to win a penalty at a massive time in the game to relieve a whole load of pressure.
Burnage took a firmer hand on the trophy in the 72th minute when they scored their fourth try of the match courtesy of second half sub, Adam Knight. Having scored 4 in the semi-final, Adam finished off a brilliant move down the left hand side to continue his cup scoring run and widen Burnage’s lead to double figures. Rhys Evans added the conversion to make the score 13-26 with 8 minutes to play.
The win was confirmed 4 minutes later when Charlie Bray’s fantastic line speed saw him surge past the Broughton Park defensive line and all the way to the try line before being jumped on by his teammates. Rhys Evans’ conversion was again successful to make the scores 13-33 and leave Burnage with the task of seeing out the remaining 3 minutes.
Broughton Park were still coming forward in the final few seconds but one final handling error ignited the Burnage faithful into rapturous celebrations. After defending most of the second half 2 late tries added to 3 first half ones were enough to crown Burnage the 2017 Brain Leigh Lancashire Trophy Champions!
Full Time: Broughton Park 13-33 Burnage
A special thank you to all supporters for the support you have given the team this season especially in last weekends final. We hope the level of support is same next season where we will be looking add to this seasons success.
We also wish Andy Dowdall and his girlfriend Emily the best of luck ahead of their move to New Zealand next month. Andy has been with the club since the age of 4 as well as being a key player in our team this season and he will be missed next year!