Tarleton Firsts faced Burnley Firsts for their last home match of the season on Saturday knowing that a win would leapfrog them into third place in the league. A strong side was put out albeit with three or four regular starters missing due to injury and unavailability.
The first 15 minutes saw both teams probing the others defence with Tarleton playing a wide running game and Burnley favouring the pick and go approach.
Following some good pressure by Tarleton and some excellent work by the pack the Burnley defence was sucked in to maul after maul and their defence was too narrow, a well flighted pass out wide to Aidan Miller saw him crash over in the corner to open Tarletons’ account.
Although Burnley had some decent possession they couldn’t make it count as Tarleton stifled every attack with ease. The first half was all Tarleton and they spurned two good scoring chances with poor handling and passing with the try scoring pass. However, from an attacking scrum it was Tarleton who scored again when Will Parker Snr. broke off at No. 8 and drew two Burnley defenders to him and managed to offload to Man of the Match Jack Skofic who scored a good try despite the attentions of the Burnley full-back. Miller added the extras and Tarleton led at half time 12-0.
Burnley started the second half with renewed vigour and started to find defensive frailties in the Tarleton defence and started to claw their way back into the game. The big forwards had been dealt with well in the first half but Tarleton were struggling to contain their runs as they tired and this resulted in Burnley scoring two tries in the half, one of which was converted and with 15 minutes to go the scores were level at 12 apiece.
Tarleton woke up again and started to create try scoring opportunities again, unfortunately, as in the first half two good chances were wasted and Burnley on the back foot also gave away a couple of silly penalties which Tarleton failed to convert.
At the final whistle the score remained 12-12 and Tarleton knew they had let a victory slip from their grasp. This leaves Burnley with a 1 point advantage with both teams having 2 games to play to see who secures 3rd, place in the league.
The seconds were also against Burnley away and they had a crushing 83-3 victory which keeps the pressure on teams chasing them in what is an exciting promotion race in their league with 4 teams fighting hard for the two places available.
The firsts travel to Bury next week and the seconds are at home for their last match of this year’s campaign against Vale of Lune which they must win and then wait to see what the chasing 3 teams achieve in their last games.