BURNLEY Tornados are in touching distance of a BAFA Community League play-off at Crystal Palace.
The top-ranking teams in each division compete in play-offs culminating in divisional finals, and after the Tornados’ latest tournament at Doncaster, they remain in third place and in contention.
The Tornados travelled with a very small squad over the Pennines for the last league tournament of the season.
With eight players on holiday, Burnley went with just 10 fit players, while Kurt Sumner returned from a broken wrist to play his first game of the season.
The first game was against Chester Romans, who were looking for revenge following a previous encounter, and they scored first but were unable to add the extra point.
The Tornados matched the score through Matty Brammer and at half-time were level 6-6.
The Romans came out and scored again, but Cameron Stewart and Brammer matched up, including the extra point, to be ahead by a point.
The last play of the game was a dubious call by the referee, which allowed the Romans’ score to stand and they went on to win 19-13.
Burnley lost their nose tackle DJ Buckel with a shoulder injury in the second half, reducing the team to nine men.
Burnley’s second game was against the hosts Balby Carr Mustangs, who had a sizeable squad.
The Tornados were slow to start and let the Mustangs score two touchdowns.
Brammer scored again and Stewart and Josh Procter scored a safety, but at halftime the Tornados were down 18-8.
After an inspirational talk, Burnley came into the second half with fire in their bellies. Phil Robins ran in for a touchdown, then the Mustangs made a mistake in the endzone, giving Burnley two points.
Kurt Sumner then scored his first touchdown of the day, taking Burnley into the lead by four points.
A couple of missed tackles let the Mustangs into the game, and they scored two more touchdowns, taking the final score to 30-22.
The rain started to come down on the third game of the day, against Sheffield Tomahawks, and the Tornados had to go to a rushing game as the quarterback Stewart was unable to throw in the conditions.
Kris Moore drove hard for his first touchdown of the day and Stewart recovered a fumble and ran it in for another score.
The Tomahawks did a quick sneak with the ball and got past the tired Tornados defense to score a touchdown, but Sumner caught his second for the day, leaving the half time score 18-6 in favour of the Tornados.
A quick turnaround gave the Tornados the ball and Brammer scored his fourth touchdown of the day.
The Tornados defense, with Xavier Sutcliffe doing a good job, helped to stop the Tomahawks’ drive, and the Tornados got the ball back.
Anthony Tither and Josh Bonnick came on as rookies and helped the team move the ball closer for the first down. Stewart then ran in a 25 yard touchdown for a final score of 30-6.
Considering the players available to Burnley, everyone made an impact on the team. Stewart stayed on the field, playing on offense and defense for all bar one play.
Brammer scored four touchdowns on the day and Phil Robins amassed 111 yards. Josh (Peg) Procter got another safety, taking his tally to three for the season and Sumner returned to defense and scored two touchdowns.
The final tournament of the season sees all seven teams in the league travel to County Durham on August 20th to determine who will go to Crystal Palace on September 24th.