Burnley’s recent good run came to a halt at home on Saturday in a bruising and ill-tempered affair against Salford-based De La Salle.
It was a tense and ferocious encounter with no quarter asked or given.
Burnley won all the early penalties, but the early exchanges were all in the middle of the park .
The visitors’ full back was winded early and was forced to retire injured.
Burnley’s backs had little to work with until a good break from Bryan Kelly, who kicked and chased but just overran the line.
Shortly after, Ryan Bradley made a bullocking run, offloading to skipper Nino Angelone who passed to the supporting Ben Healy ,who went under the posts.
Steve Kent added the conversion.
The visitors responded well, and Burnley’s ill discipline meant they lost further territory.
De La Salle launched wave after wave of attack, but Burnley’s defence was excellent.
The visitors won a futher penalty and decided to kick for goal, but as the ball went wide a Burnley defender made a basic error knocking on and giving the ball back to the Salford side.
A great scrum retrieved the situation, but a loose kick again lost possession.
A simple pass wide gave the winger space, and he duly finished after some poor tackling.
De La Salle dominated territorially for the next 20 minutes as their fierce tackling gave them a slight edge, and they began to get all the decisions.
From a penalty they took the lead, and Burnley then lost Will Yip through injury as they went in 8-7 down.
A poor Burnley kick off lost possession straight away, but good work from Healy redeemed the situation.
Sadly, Burnley were not putting phases together to ask enough questions of the visitors, though they were excellent in patches with good cameos from Kent and returning Ed Taylor.
De La Salle responded with a beautiful try as the fly half made a well-weighted kick for the centre to race on to.
Burnley raised their game, but Adam Healy went to the bin, and with Burnley feeling aggrieved, they had a purple patch but the visitors’ defence held firm.
Josh Brown was felled, and a red card and penalty should have ensued, but the referee penalised an earlier offence, and the Salford side cleared the danger, the referee blowing early to avoid any more controversy.
The seconds lost to close rivals BAE Warton 41-24 in an excellent match which was close until the final 10 minutes.
Rob O’Brien, a brace from man of the match Billy Lancaster, and Mark Spencer were Burnley’s try scorers.
Skipper Ferguson weighed in with two kicks to take his tally to 150 points for the season.
The thirds won 25-19 at second placed Thornton.
Lee Dane opened Burnley’s account, Danny Rycroft added to the score, and Joe Parkinson added a conversion and penalty to put Burnley in command, before the home side hit back.
Gary Dixon increased Burnley’s lead, but again the home side responded. Burnley dug deep as Chris Pickles and Eddie Blake caused Thornton problems, then skipper Jason Bell worked some magic to steer the thirds home.
The tags/Under7s/8s took on Blackburn and Sedgley Park beating Sedgley, and winning one and losing another against Blackburn.
All new players are welcome at the club on Sundays behind the Oaks, or contact Burnleys Community Coach Simon Finnan (07988122186, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) who is available to work with schools, colleges and local youth groups.
Tomorrow all three senior sides are at home to Bury, Garstang and Blackpool at 3 p.m.
This will be preceded by a lunch to mark the club achieving accredited status, with the club recognised for its good practice, facilities and coaching it offers young people.
On Sunday all junior sides are training except the Under 19s, who face Kendal at home at 2 p.m.