Under 18s hit back to earn share of spoils
RUGBY UNION AARON JONES
LITTLEBOROUGH Under 18s and a mixture of Leigh and Burnley Under 18s served up a rarity in rugby with an entertaining 29-29 draw.
In front of a packed Rakewood in the brisk autumn sunshine, a resolute and tenacious fight back from the home side saw them deny the visitors a big upset.
The two sides that combined, Leigh and Burnley set the early pace with a storming run down the right hand side from Annabelle Aspin, before Boro responded with the opposite type of try.
Darcy Bowker carried two defenders over the whitewash as they struggled to handle the prop’s physicality. Niamh Mullins’ conversion gave Boro a slender two-point advantage at 7-5.
It was a lead that would not last more than five minutes as the visitors Cailey Miller outpaced everyone to go under the sticks. Rachel Downs, like her counterpart, was able to add the extras
Undeterred, Maisie Webb, in her first game this season and the first for a prolonged period of time after missing most of last year through illness, brought her side back level with a score in the right corner.
She follows in the footsteps of her grandfather Phillip Webb who once was scoring tries for fun in the black, green and yellow of Littleborough.
Leigh/Burnley then stepped up the gears and pressed home their advantage with another two tries. First Ella Brierley broke through down the right before Willow Bell, a person familiar and well liked by Littleborough having made several appearances for them last year, came back to haunt her former team-mates.
Downs would secure another couple of points to add to the tally with a conversion of the second try.
The home crowd soon had something to cheer, as some great offloading in the tackle including the final pass from Erin Stott, put Devon Hensby in for her first try at this age group, much to the delight of her father. A difficult conversion meant the lead was reduced to seven. In a frantic first half, there was even time for more action as the visitors struck the counter punch that looked to have knocked Boro down. Megan Geeson the individual on this occasion to cross the line.
At the break, with the score at 17-29 for the visitors, Littleborough’s Under 18s had it all to do.
Like their last home game, an invigorated and rejuvenated Boro side dominated the second half with Georgia Turner, Chloe Boardman and Lily Young all making significant contributions to the cause.
Eventually, after a good phase of possession, Littleborough had the try they so richly deserved as centre Erin Stott found a none existent gap to score. A missed conversion meant that the closing stages would be nail biting.
And right on cue with Leigh/Burnley’s defence sucked in trying to keep Boro out down the right. The home side shifted the ball brilliantly through hands in the midfield to give Nayab Mehak a golden opportunity to score; a chance she took to draw the teams level at 29-29. Another diffcult conversion saw Mullins effort drift wide as both teams shared the spoils from a thrilling encounter.
A Courtney Mills hat-trick and a brace for Kiera Boardman gave Littleborough under 15s a sublime 41-19 victory at home against newly formed Leigh Under 15s. There were further tries from Mollie Yates and Ebony Clegg with Ellie Fitzgerald kicking three conversions and one from Kirsty Bella.