Burnley Tornados Junior team were hosting Merseyside Nighthawks at Holt House this Saturday. With the pitch was perfectly marked and both teams eager to play, the refs were ready and the game began at 1.00.
Burnley’s captains – Phil Robins, Flynn Griffith, Xavier Sutcliffe and James Macken, won the toss and deferred the kick. The first quarter was very much back and forth with Burnley coming closest to scoring, even having a touchdown disallowed due to a penalty. The quarter was fraught with injury for both teams, which amounted to Sam Rawnsley being taken to hospital with a suspected broken collar bone. The Nighthawks lost three more to injury before the half.
The second quarter saw the Nighthawks take command of the
game. Burnley’s defense seemed very lacklustre and were missing tackles allowing the opposition to score. The Nighthawks were stopping Burnley’s running play too by blocking Flynn Griffith from twisting and turning his way into the endzone, but he still managed to make one score. Ben Dyer and Andy Hawkes then chased the ball into the endzone for a safety and the Tornado Juniors were in the lead 8-6. The lead did not last long as the Nighthawks capitalised on a Burnley fumble and at the end of the half the Nighthawks were up 8-14.
The captains and coaches had their half time team talk which the Burnley spectators, also known as the Stormchasers, hoped would gee the team up and let them see the performance expected from the junior players. This was not to be and after a Burnley fumble the Nighthawks recovered the ball and extended their lead by 12. Flynn Griffith then worked his magic and with his team mates putting in blocks he was able to get into the endzone and reduce the deficit. Phil Robins and Xavier Sutcliffe then recovered the ball from the Nighthawks but could not make a score. George Flesher then put pressure on the Nighthawks QB and was able to score a safety taking Burnley to within four points.
As the fourth quarter began the Stormchasers rallied round the Tornado Juniors and the team became more vocal in support of each other.
Phil Robins launched a long throw towards Gino Mann, who had made a 40 yard run but unfortunately dropped the ball. The Tornados repeated the play but this time Gino kept his eye on the ball and was able to catch and turn and score the six points. Xavier Sutcliffe was then able to score the conversion and the Tornados were finally in the lead 24-20. With the defense fired up Anthony Tither, Josh Bonnick and Ben Dyer were able to pressure the Nighthawks into making mistakes and Burnley got the ball back. Following a good set of drives Flynn Griffith once again ran the ball into the endzone and Phil Robins scored the conversion. The final score on the day was Tornados 32, Nighthawks 20.
The MVPs chosen by the coaches were Flynn Griffith, Anthony Tither and Josh Bonnick, with a special mention to Phil Robins.