BURNLEY and Pendle Rugby League suffered a narrow defeat in their North West Entry Division opener against a tough Manor Park outfit.
Played in atrocious wet conditions, the locals impressed the large crowd with a gutsy performance against a team boasting three wins from three so far.
The game started as it finished- with luck against the hosts.
The kick-off was adjudged to have gone out on the full, and, from the resultant penalty, Joe Holden seemed to acrobatically keep the ball in play, only for the referee to award a scrum to the opposition deep in Burnley and Pendle territory.
With a much bigger pack, it took some solid defence from the locals to keep Manor Park at bay, with Chris Wall, Adam Healy and Iain Wiseman were particularly impressive.
Howard Metcalfe stepped up to show the young guns how to attack, only to be thwarted by a huge shot from the Manor Park 10.
This seemed to galvanise the home side, as even the younger lads stepped up to dish out the same punishemnt back to Manor Park.
As both teams traded blows, it took till the 25 minutes before the deadlock was broken. Following a neat break from the impressive Joe Holden, a short side moved allowed Ben Healy to crash over. The conversion was carried wide by the wind.
That was the only score of the first half as the wet weather forced handling errors from both sides.
Burnley and Pendle were caught napping early in the second half, as a speculative kick from Manor bounced and bobbled under the sticks. Everyone seemed to stop as Billy Holden touched the ball behind his own line, only for the referee to award a try, which was duly converted.
This seemed to raise Manor’s spirit and the locals had no answer to the larger pack, getting the roll on down field. Manor’s second try came as the home defence were drawn in to the middle, allowing space out wide for a second try, this time unconverted.
The hosts responded well, James Henderson and Robert Metcalfe making yards down the left, and, following a quick play the ball, captain Matt Crowley had the space he craved all afternoon to slice open the defence to score under the posts, levelling the game at 10-10.
A 40-metre break in the very next set from the Burnley and Pendle number six could have seen off Manor Park, but it was not to be as he was pulled up short by the full back and possesion was surrendered.
Instead it was the away team who upped the ante, with a try 10 minutes from the end, again as the locals failed to stop the roll on.
And Manor who had the last say, as a loose ball was pounced on and the ball fed to the large prop who crossed the whitewash and put the game to bed.
Final Score: Burnley and Pendle 10, Manor Park 20
Thanks to match sponsors Mike and Lisa Holden, hospitality sponsor The Prairie and photographer Keith Walmsley.
Burnley and Pendle are due to play Wigan St Cuthberts B away on Saturday.
Training takes place at the Prairie playing fields between 6-30-8 p.m. on Thursdays, with players of all abilities welcome.