BURTON under-16s slipped to a narrow defeat against an excellent Eccleshall side in a friendly match at the weekend.
Due to injuries to key players, both sides decided to cancel their Staffordshire League match and instead play a 13-a-side friendly.
On a pitch that had to be narrowed to avoid a large amount of standing water after heavy overnight rain, Burton kicked off towards the Ferry Bridge.
It took just four minutes for the young Crofters to take the lead as Harry Pickett outpaced the visiting defence to go over the line. His conversion from out wide fell just short.
Ben Whitehouse saved Burton from conceding an immediate try as Eccleshall hit back but the respite was short-lived as the visitors spread play wide and went over in the corner. The conversion was missed.
The Crofters stole the lead again when on 20 minutes Lewis Sturgess, who has been fierce in the tackle in the opening stages, broke through the gain line to take his side downfield.
Pickett then chipped the ball over Eccleshall’s defence and inside centre Max Williams charged on to touch down. Pickett again missed the conversion.
With half-time looming, Eccleshall stole the lead when they took advantage of a gap in the home defence to go 12-10 up with a converted try.
Burton reshuffled at the break and took the lead with another flowing move involving Danny Bowles, with Williams breaking free to score in the corner. Again, the conversion was off-target.
The Crofters then began to tire and Eccleshall upped their game, dominating the scrums.
From one of the set-pieces, the ball was spun out to the visiting full-back and he scored under the posts, with the conversion also going over.
A final try in the dying seconds put some gloss on the score for Eccleshall, but Burton had competed well and with some of their best players out will be looking forward to a rematch.