BURNLEY and Pendle Rugby League Club have been warming up for the season ahead by taking part in an exciting new scheme that is taking the game by storm.
The club is currently taking part in the Play Touch Rugby League programme which is a Sport England-backed initiative.
The aim is to introduce more players to the game and also help boost the clubs’s playing numbers.
Play Touch Rugby is being staged on the 3G pitches at Soccer Burnley, Crow Wood.
The scheme is attracting players of all abilities and experiences – and from both codes – with the ultimate aim to establish a league with at least six clubs.
Bob Lennard, secretary of Burnley and Pendle RL, said: “With the rugby union season not finishing until next month, Play Touch Rugby League gives us the chance to start up some casual rugby league now in preparation for our season.
“We have engaged with people who have tried touch rugby for the first time who would never have come to our normal training sessions.
“Hopefully, some of these will transfer and try full contact rugby league in the summer.”
Now in its sixth week, the sessions are attracting more and more players each week.
The latest saw three teams battle it out for honours in an all action, fast paced mini festival.
With prizes on offer, the intensity picked up from the previous five weeks of action with teams Burnley College, Blessed Trinity Y11 and the Burnley RUFC Colts all giving their all in a bid for victory.
The first game was a tense affair as Blessed Trinity, lifted by the presence and experience of individuals Chris Clements and Richard Bell, scored through captain Celyn Lennard.
The Burnley RUFC Colts applied the pressure and eventually came up with an equaliser in the second half to tie the game 1-1.
The Colts then played a Burnley College side in an end-to-end match, with the lead changing hands on on several occasions.
James Henderson was influential for the lads from Burnley RUFC, with Chris Pickles showing the experience gained over the past month.
In the end, the College boys had the edge, and ran out 3-2 winners – with a Sonny Bill-Williams style offload from Tom Cooley that put his winger in the corner.
With all to play for in the final game, things were getting serious and Burnley College called upon England Colleges international Lewis Allen to add flair to their ranks.
It was Blessed Trinity however, who took the early lead as Celyn Lennard jinked and stepped up the middle to score.
But two long range interception tries from Burnley & Pendle RLFC's Matty Crowley along with tries from Cooley and Ashley Hancock put the game beyond Trinity – although they did have the final say with a final try to finish the game 4-2.
With two wins out of two, Burnley College were crowned this weeks Champions and took home a set of O'Neills tight fit rugby jerseys.
n The Burnley Play Touch Rugby League runs every Wednesday, 6.30-8pm, with teams or individuals (males/females aged 14+) welcome. Contact ryan. bradley@rfl. uk.com