Un­der 18s hit back to earn share of spoils

Middleton Guardian - - LEISURE -

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.

Court­ney Mills

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