Little Hulton Reds started their warm up to the new season with a visit to Division 2 side Leyland Warriors.
The Reds viewed it as a chance to blood some promising youngsters who are making waves in Little Hulton, and they showed off their skills here.
On a heavy, muddy field, lack of match practice showed in the first few minutes when the Reds conceded a needless penalty which put them under pressure.
Leyland were quick to capitalise, opening the scoring in the 6th minute with their hooker scoring a try and and converting the kick.
But Little Hulton didn’t let their heads drop.
They wrenched the score back to 6-6 when the Leyland full-back spilled a high kick and they moved the ball swiftly to the left where new signing Jimmy Macqigan used his dancing feet and pace to beat three Leyland defenders to dive over, converting the try himself.
It was quite the debut score.
Fierce tackling and wet ball saw a litany of mistakes but both sides were defending for their lives.
Sadly for Little Hulton the concentration levels of the Leyland side were higher and the pressure finally told when the opposition scrum-half opened up the Reds’ defence.
He sent the Leyland second rower driving in for another converted try with just five minutes of the half remaining.
One more counter attack and Leyland added another converted score in the dying seconds to put the Chorley side 12 points up.
Little Hulton to their credit raised their game and got back into the arm-wrestle, surviving immense pressure with some superb last-ditch tackling.
The tide swung as Little Hulton turned the screw but try as they might they could not break the Leyland line.
With the final whistle coming, a speculative kick left the Leyland center an easy job to fall on the loose ball for the final score of the game, putting it at 22-6 to Leyland.
Little Hulton should be pleased with giving a second division side a tough run out, and there were exciting performances from youngsters Ellis Pearson and Kade Griffiths: Coach Foster has certainly got his side fit for the forthcoming season.
Next week the Reds are due to entertain local side Westhoughton at Peel Park.