BURNLEY Tornados beat rivals Standish Raiders at the weekend in their first pre-season friendly.
Tornados captains Phil Robins, Anthony Tither and Lewis Freeman went to take the toss with Standish captains and the referee for the day, and the visitors decided to start with the ball.
It took only the second play of the game for Standish to score, and Burnley knew changes would have to be made to the way they tackled and played defensively.
The ball was then in Burnley’s possession, and as Jake Peppiate, the Tornados rookie quarterback stepped up to receive the snap from veteran Robins, he confidently took the ball and passed it to running back Andy Hawkes, who was, after the third play, able to score and make the score level.
Robins successfully took the extra point to give Burnley the lead.
The Tornados grew in confidence with Hawkes scoring another two touchdowns and Lewis Clarke converting for an extra two points.
Freeman was able to intercept the ball, returning possession to the Tornados, and at the half Burnley were comfortably in the lead at 21-6.
The second half was to provide as much entertainment as the first with Burnley again scoring two touchdowns and a conversion.
Jeroen Higgins caught an interception for the Tornados and Hawkes was able to sack a Standish player in the endzone for a two-point safety.
The Tornados’ other rookie quarterback James Macken, found himself under immense pressure but remained calm and got the ball to the sure hands of Robins, for a short yardage gain, to keep the play alive for the Tornados.
Sam Margeson got a taste of life as a centre and proved he, along with other rookies have a valuable job to do
Burnley had a good win, although there are many areas for improvement and it is hoped that the players from the squad last year will be able to help out the rookies in the forthcoming season.
There were many good performances and Peppiate managed to complete nine out of 14 passes in his first game for the Tornados; however Hawkes carried the ball for an impressive 101 yards, gaining three touchdowns and a safety to win the coaches’ vote unanimously for MVP.
Burnley now look forward to their next friendly at the Prairie on March 31st against Preston Panthers. For anyone interested in watching, the game will start at 11 a.m., and if you are interested in playing come along to training on Saturdays from 10 a.m. or see www.tornadosafc.com for more details.