Chorley Panthers Under-14s secured the Division One league leaders’ trophy against Burtonwood – but not without a few nervous moments in a 20-20 draw.
Needing at least a point to secure top spot, Panthers started strongly and went into a 12-0 lead, with the opening score from Tommy Carr and then an individual effort from scrum-half Joe Sumner, who dummied the defence from 30 metres out, then threw a second outragous dummy to the full-back and went over.
Burtonwood came back, as they pounced on a loose ball on the last tackle, right on the stroke of half-time to narrow the deficit. Burtonwood had the wind behind them in the second half and took full advantage to go over to level within the first two minutes.
But with 10 minutes to go, stand-in hooker Jack Kirk spotted a gap from half-back to restore the lead, with Tom Williams converting.
Burtonwood scored a try out wide to narrow the gap, followed by a touchline conversion to bring the score all square.
One point was enough to secure the title, but Panthers wanted two, so when a penalty was awarded, Williams put them back in the lead. In a manic last few minutes, possession changed hands on numerous occasions, Charlie Mitchinson striking a perfect drop-out at one stage to retain possession.
A penalty was awarded when Panthers had possession, and from 40 metres, Burtonwood levelled the scores.
With only seconds left, the Bulldogs went for the victory but outstanding defence from Jack Kirk and full-back Kian Langton forced them over the sidelines and the final whistle sparked Panthers’ celebrations, as they go into the middle eights as league winners.