Clitheroe Stroll to Victory
A try - fest for the maroons
A new start to the second phase of the season and brand new opposition for the town team, as Wallasey RFC made the long journey up the motorway to a sunny, for once, Littlemoor.
The only slight problem was the traditional home pitch being just less than the usual bowling green perfect which required the teams to literally up sticks and decamp to the loftier Ribb pitch with its wide acres and glorious vista of Pendle Hill in the background.
The new format to the end of the season is a sprint of 6 games up till Easter then the top four into a play off; so a good start was absolutely essential for Skipper Will Dickenson's team.
With the grizzled Getty Schinkel unavailable for coaching duties it was left to the ginger maestro Rick Edmondson to offer sage advice from the touchline – most if not all routinely ignored.
Wallasey have had a thin time of it this season, and unfortunately have fallen from their glory days of a few years ago. A surprise win for the visitors was probably never on the cards. But to their credit the lads from Merseyside put in a great shift and were well rewarded with a couple of late scores.
In between times Clitheroe were able to play some open free flowing rugby. The quality of which raged between middling and splendid.
There was plenty of highlights to keep the crowd happy and just enough 'biff' to warm the cockles of a few aging observers from the sidelines.
There was also a master class in place kicking from Jonny Cuddy, slotting them with ease from all corners – reminiscent & nearly as good as former maroon and gold favourite Joe Hopkins.
The first half saw four tries run in from the home side. 'Run' – maybe not the word – as they were all scored by the forwards.
Sam Thornber scored a brace from the No 8 position , fellow loose forward Nat Dickenson showed big brother how to do it, and the rumbustious prop Ben Graves used his 19 stones to great effect in crashing over. The local news talked of a small earth tremor on Saturday – curiously the epicentre was in the Littlemoor area of Clitheroe.
Half time came and went with Clitheroe 26 points to the good. As Thornber was on for a hat trick the referee helpfully sent him into the cooler for rest either side of the interval.
The second period was more of the same but the backs began to actually pass the ball to each other. Plus the introduction of speedsters Chris Stewart and Joe Smith off the bench kept the tempo up and the scoreboard ticking over.
Stewart himself bookended the half with scores. In between times Stuart Railton went over along with Graves for his second and Cuddy decided a try was just reward for his kicking duties.
In all Cuddy kicked seven conversions and Stewart cheekily slotted the last.
With far harder games coming up, it was difficult to gauge weather this was a good preparation or not. Time will no doubt tell.
At least there were no injuries to report and it shows with a full compliment to choose from the team is a match for anyone in the division.
Having that full compliment is the key going forward.
So top marks to both teams for their efforts. Many thanks to Wallasey for making the trip and congratulations on victory in the bar, over our feeble candidate, plus the excellent singing!
Standout players for Clitheroe? There were many – James Pate the giant prop was energetic in the loose, veteran loosie Darren Eagle, like most Kiwis – did the simple things well and is at the heart of many of the attacks. In the backs Marco Vaghetti marshaled his troops well and directed the action particularly well in the second half, and Railton, who is deceptively lively for one so laid back took his deserved try well.
Away day next week, and another new, unknown opposition in the shape of Liverpool University