Previously-unbeaten Burnley Girls fell narrowly short in the National semi-finals in Chesterfield.
Their first game was against Newark, and Burnley started on the front foot, scoring in the first minute as a nice draw and pass from Alex Baker sent Sophie Gavin through a gap.
Newark regrouped, with excellent scrummaging and rucking play, but Burnley’s defence stood firm though with some great tackles from Elicia Farnworth and Willow Bell.
Newark worked their way into Burnley’s 22 with some strong running and ball retention, and this eventually paid off when they crashed over to level the scores.
Newark started to tire in the second half, and Burnley were asking questions of the Newark defence, with strong runs from Megan Farnhill and Kia Doyle causing problems.
Captain Anya Richmond showed her strength and powered her way through to score.
Newark replied with a try of their own when the centre broke though and scored.
The scores were tied with minutes remaining, and, unfortunately, the Newark 10 was the difference, outpacing the defence to score under the posts and snatch the victory.
In a three-way tournament, Burnley then played Castleford in a second-third place play-off.
Burnley again started well, with Richmond claiming the first score with a typically-strong run, Sophie Gavin hitting the upright with the conversion.
Castleford fought back, scoring a try of their own in the wide channels, despite some hard work from Macey Durkin.
The game was open now, and girls were breaking through the defensive line, but both defences held firm until Georgia Simm found a gap and powered her way over.
Again Gavin hit the upright.
Castleford scored two tries, which were both converted, and in defending one of these tries, second row Ella Brierly clashed heads and had to retire from the field.
Burnley weren’t finished yet, and a move from a scrum allowed Richmond to again show her skill and score the final try, with Alex Baker’s conversion also, rermarkbly, hitting the upright!
The final score of 19-15 showed how important the small margins can be.
Burnley are now building ready for the next season, with a couple of sevens tournaments before the season is over. If you want to try and give rugby a try, go to the club website for details, or call John Richmond on 07966135275.
l Burnley’s first team had their penultimate away match of the season at Tarleton, with third playing fourth in a very intense and tight encounter.
The side was led by vice captain Tom Ives, with the pack led by Jack Stockdale
The locals started slowly and after 25 minutes were 12-0 down.
The second half saw Burnley get back into it via tries from Joe Parkinson and Adam Wallis, with one converted, and Tarleton were unable to convert their penalty chances as the game ended 12-12.