MARK Jennings bagged a hat-trick on his league debut for Wilmslow Wolves as they edged out Burnage in the season opener at the Memorial Ground.

The former Sale Sharks centre’s role in the win overall was ‘influential’, while flanker Seb Pemberton bagged the other two tries in the 36-32 success.

But with the game ending five tries apiece, goal-kicking made the difference on the scoreboard.

Fly-half Bob MacCallum was on target five times out of six.

It was Wilmslow’s first game back in North One West after last season’s dance at a higher level that had proven to be even tougher than anticipated.

This was also the first league encounter under new head coach Chris Jones, following Rick Jones’ return to his former club Macclesfield.

Jones acknowledged that Burnage had executed their game plan well and had pushed his side all the way. Nevertheless, there had also been some good attacking play from his side.

“Everybody contributed,” he said.

Like in the previous week’s 67-19 victory over Anselmians in the Cheshire Vase, they had taken their chances.

Jones was less happy with the number of forced and unforced handling and lineout errors.

It’s early days yet in this league so it’s too early to judge the respective merits of both sides.

Burnage only just avoided the drop last season but on Saturday’s evidence they looked a decent well organised side and nobody would have complained too much if they had managed to steal the game as they threatened to do in the closing stages.

For now though Wolves can be happy with five league points as they prepare for their visit to arch rivals Stockport on Saturday.