Clitheroe Junior Colts travel to Ormskirk in the last of the prelim games
By Bob Wilkinson
Ormskirk stood just above Clitheroe in the Prelim league table so this would always be a close game
Clitheroe returned to action after the disappointing loss of an home game to the weather last weekend. They made the trip to Ormskirk, following in the footsteps of the first team, who managed a draw only 2 weeks previously.
Unfortunately, a number of players were missing- 3 through injury/illness, 2 being unavailable through work and 2 with family commitments- which meant the lads turned out with only 13 plucky players. Ormskirk did a great thing in lending Clitheroe a different player in each half, which was greatly appreciated and displayed the level of true sportsmanship by some clubs in this fine league. The Ormskirk lads who pulled on the Clitheroe shirt did their utmost throughout the game- thank you Harry and Dan!
Clitheroe had been working hard on defence on the training paddock and were determined to show their mettle in this regards. What they didn't do however, was to turn the theory into action in the game- Ormskirk were all quickly into their stride, scoring 3 tries in the first 15 minutes and the Clitheroe defence clearly wasn't functioning. That said, 'Kirk were proving effective in midfield especially, jinking their way through despairing tackles.
On 20 minutes, Clitheroe found some inspiration. A 'Kirk knock on gave the Maroon & Golds the possession they needed and after working the phases, fly half Wilkinson found Duck in support and with an excellent sidestep he found the space to dot down under the posts. Three further minutes elapsed before Clitheroe were back on the scoresheet- this time it started with a great take from the kick off by Aspin. Ormskirk were then pinged by the referee for offside and Clitheroe quickly worked the ball well side to side to find Davies on the left before he was unceremoniously dragged into touch. Clitheroe won the line out off the 'Kirk throw and after some nifty interpassing Horsfield hit the ball at pace on showed a clean pair of heels to score out on the left wing. They say good things always come in threes... in this case that was certainly true. Two minutes after the Horsfield try, a good take direct from the kick off by Wilkinson got Clitheroe back on the attack and with a quick off load at the perfect time, Aspin was away. Running full pelt and dodging tackles from all angles he sped away brilliantly to score under the sticks. Super stuff!
Clitheroe were on a roll and had edged ahead by a couple of points. However that lead was to be short lived. After some good tackling to keep out the home team, Clitheroe passed left and an errant pass found its way into the hands of a grateful 'Kirk player who scampered over to take back the lead. Moments later, they were to score again, this time down the left wing from a long way out. Wilkinson scored the final try of the half, completing the score with a bit of an "Ash Splash" to take the score to 33-28 to the home side at half time. It's worth noting that Duck had converted all 4 tries with aplomb.
The second half started evenly with Clitheroe's defence showing up to a greater degree, Barraclough and Pimbley notable for their tackling efforts. Ormskirk were marginally the better attacking team however and scored three tries over a 20 minutes period. Enion, performing well in his first start at prop, was on the end of a good team try on the hour but other than that, Clitheroe were spent having been a man down throughout the game.
The game ended 9 tries to 5 but Duck's kicking kept it to within 20 points. Clitheroe will feel that with a full side they will push Ormskirk close when they will undoubtedly meet later in the season. Plenty to work on but overall, a heartening performance that the spectators and most importantly, the lads, certainly enjoyed.