The Tornados youth team travelled the short distance down the M60 to Salford to play Manchester Titans, Doncaster Mustangs and Chorley Buccaneers in their second youth tournament of the season, this weekend.
The weather was looking good for the first games but as the day progressed the weather deteriorated. The 10 players who went to this tournament included two players who had only had one or two training sessions with the team, and so much depended on the other eight players.
Tornados Vs Manchester Titans
The first game of the day was against the hosts, Manchester Titans. They have a large squad but very young and this was telling when we started to play. The Captains for the game, Jonny Robertshaw, Ben Dyer and Dom Ward met the ref and opposition and won the toss, giving Burnley the ball to start. After the settling of nerves, the QB Jonny Robertshaw linked up with Gino Mann and George Wrathall to lead the Titans 18-0 at the half. The second half was much the same with Gino Mann scoring 13 of the 19 points in the half, the other scorer being rookie Ellis Crump. Anthony Tither and Ben Dyer sacked the opposition QB in each half and at the end of the game the Tornados were victorious 37-8. Tommie Bryan got on the field for a couple of plays in what was only his 2nd session with the team – nothing like a baptism of fire. He said after though – he enjoyed the time he was playing and realises there is a lot to learn but is sure he will enjoy playing the game.
Tornados Vs Chorley Buccaneers
After a break of about 20mins, the Tornados would be up against a very well disciplined, older and stronger team in the Chorley Buccaneers. The captains, Jonny Robertshaw, Ellis Crump and Ben Dyer, again met with the opposition and won the toss. After the fifth throw by the Tornado QB, injury struck and Jonny would have to be replaced following an injury to his hand. Ellis Crump stepped up and after settling of nerves got into a stride but the Buccaneers proved too strong for the team and at the half were already up by 22-0. The second half was much the same with the well drilled Buccaneers scoring against the Tornados. Gino Mann managed an interception, and Zack Leigh did well to give the new QB some time to get the passes off. On defence Josh Bonnick made some monumental tackles to try to stop the Buccaneers, however the final score was 0-37, and a few injured players on the Tornados team. The coaches would need to decide if the players were fit to go into the third game.
Tornados Vs Doncaster Mustangs
After much discussion it was decided that the remaining players would not forfeit a game and would play against the rather large Doncaster Mustangs team. The Tornados got off to a tricky start with the replacement QB throwing a couple of interceptions but Ben Dyer was able to sack the Mustang QB in the endzone so the score at half time was 12-2 in the mustangs favour. After a half time team talk from the Head Coach, the players went back on the field. The Tornados tried running the ball with George Wrathall and Dom Ward but the Mustangs were able to stop the play and in turn score themselves. The final score on the day was 24-2.
The coaches decided that MVPs for the tournament would be Ben Dyer for his tenacity and drive through all three games, despite picking up an ankle injury; Ellis Crump for stepping up to the role of QB following the injury to Jonny; and in an unprecedented move the third award would go to rookie George Wrathall who played on both offense and defence and kept driving throughout all three games – this showed true Tornado spirit. Coach Robins said “We are so proud of our youth team today – against all odds they did themselves proud – losing Johnny so early in the second game to what I thought personally was a cheap shot, but well done to Ellis for stepping up and being counted when your team needed you the most. Good games all around, especially George and Tommy- you two probably learned more today than 10 training sessions could have taught you. Solid performances from the veteran players but we expected nothing less and they gave nothing less.”