Solid home victory for the Colts
Bury show tenacity in defeat but Clitheroe extend their winning streak to 9 games
After last week's away victory at Ormskirk, a much changed team took to the Littlemoor pitch to play Bury for the second time this season having beaten them over at Radcliffe Road in mid October, 22-5. With injury and unavailability meaning the term was missing 7 regular players, Brown and Calton-Whitaker were joined in the front row by Tom Dean, playing only his second game for Clitheroe. The second row was all changed with Horsfield joining up with Solomon Parker, a debutant in the Clitheroe shirt, whilst in the back row, captain Wilkinson was accompanied by Pimbley on the opposite flank and Enion at No.8. With the movement of Wilkinson into the back row, the backs shuffled around with scrum half Lucas Wright partnering Joe Clarke at half back, Duck alongside Mason in the centres, White and Tyagi on the wings and Stanley filling in at full back. Aldred, the second debutant and coming on in the second half, finalised the fine squad of 16.
The game was tight from the off with Bury on the front foot, attacking Clitheroe with some determination, however, strong tackling from Pimbley, Enion and the man-mountain Parker kept repelling every attack. This continued for the first quarter of the game. Clitheroe's defence was standing firm and their attack growing in confidence as the half wore on. Calton-Whitaker and Parker were knocking their opponents back with some force and mistakes from the visitors was inevitable.
The first try came after a couple of penalties led to a line out on the Bury 22. An initial drive from scrum half Wright was continued by No.8 Enion, who picked and drove with some force to cross the whitewash and opening the scoring. Five minutes later, another tremendous hit from Parker turned the ball over and Joe Clarke evaded a number of would-be tacklers to score Clitheroe's second try. By this time Bury were feeling the pace, having failed to score despite considerable possession and being two tries down at the half hour mark. Just before half time, Clitheroe were once more on the attack and the ball flung right to centre Duck, who proceeded to see the lack of cover behind the defensive line and chip over somewhat speculatively. The chip was delightful and the ball bounced up beautifully as Duck regathered and sprinted under the posts to score a scintillating try. Stanley added the conversion.
The half was to finish with Bury having their first true clean break of the game when their winger got behind the Clitheroe defence and was looking odds on to score a good try. Winger White had other ideas and not only did he show superb pace to catch the Bury man, he put in a cracking tackle to stop him in his tracks and caused him to move the ball out of the tackle illegally. The half was over with Clitheroe 17-0 to the good.
Five minutes into the second half, Joe Clarke was again making a pest of himself at fly half as he scythed through the Bury defence from half way. As the cover defence was about to haul him down he offloaded superbly to Stanley in support, who dashed over from the 22 to score a great try, fly half and full back collaborating with aplomb. Clitheroe's 5th and final try came five minutes later; Clarke took the initiative as Clitheroe were awarded a penalty 40m out and after dashing this way then that he found enough space to get behind the Bury line and sprinted to the line to score a good individual try and his fifth try in 2 games.
The remainder of the game saw Bury come into their own where they were retaining possession more ably and moving their way upfield, on numerous occasions into the Clitheroe half. The home side's defence eventually buckled in the final few minutes of the game and Bury scored a deserved try.
We could mention a good number of this team for their efforts but that would be unfair on the team as a whole, which is so much better that the sum of its parts. The new lads coming in this year, many of whom are at the younger end of the group, have added much skill and no shortage of quality, however, it's the beauty of the combination of all the players that's really added a different quality we've not really seen before this season. They're a pleasure to watch and I, for one, am enjoying my Sunday afternoons immensely watching them wear the Clitheroe shirt with pride.
With this victory, Clitheroe Senior Colts go back to the top of the league with Eccles surprisingly losing at home to Northwich. Next week they travel to Broughton Park and although Park haven't been quite achieving the level they might aspire to, they will be no easy team to beat at home. Let's see what Clitheroe can do.