Burnley travelled to a flooded Widnes hoping to mount a serious promotion challenge, but came away with their dream shattered after a painful defeat by the slenderest of margins.
Injuries and cry offs made this a new-look Burnley, and the locals will look back and scratch their collective heads at how they lost a game they dominated.
A fresh front row, with ever-reliable Howard Metcalfe and rising star James White, in only his second game at hooker, dominated the scrums and provided ample ball.
The poor conditions did not help Burnley’s fast, attack-minded game, and it was obvious mistakes would be crucial.
A physical and, at times, niggly home team slowly got into the game, and began to gain possession.
From an infringement they kicked the only score.
Despite repeated attacks, the Holden Road men couldn’t break the tough-tackling home defence to finally lose 3-0.
Tomorrow they entertain Bolton in a local derby, kick-off 2-15 p.m., with all support welcome.
Burnley seconds played some great rugby, despite the appalling conditions, at Holden Road, winning 34-3 against Aldwinians with tries from Bell, Fenney, Allanson, Ferguson and a brace from talented full back Murray.
Burnley thirds had an equally-impressive local derby win in the mud against Clitheroe, with tries from Ralph, Mountford, Annice and two tries from promising youngster Baxendale to win 27-5.
Burnley Under 15s/16s beat Rossendale 32-0.
On a very wet mornin,g Burnley managed to get 14 available players, but these team is a work in progress, so the result was a great one in context.
Returning Dec Hutchinson powered over for the first Burnley try, then some neat handling by the backs saw Ash Nuttall go over under the sticks.
Strong forward play and good runs from Joe Ellison and Danny Johnson put Burnley on top as Hutchinson scored again. Next on the score sheet was Jack Wilkinson who charged down a kick and over he went.
In the second half, Burnley kept running hard through Tybo and James Henderson, before the ball was released to Lee Ferrier, who sprinted away.
Now plenty of training needs to happen to get a line out functioning in the pack, and the backs dropping less ball. This wee’sk home game against North Ribblesdale will hopefully see a full 15 take to the field.