Narrow Defeat on Travels for Clitheroe
By Roger Holmes
Another close reverse..........
Clitheroe made the trip down the M66 knowing that a victory would assure them of a home semi final in the League Cup.
The usual unavailabilities applied but back into the fold came James Taffy Haynes and Niall Spence and Baz Barrett and Matt Furbush and Johnny Fisher made their debuts for the maroon and gold outfit.
Following the disappointment of last weeks match the performance needed to be hugely improved..and improved it was.
The forwards were excellent, the rucking vastly improved and as ever, commitment could not be faulted. Pate and Will Dickenson did the hard yards with great support from Rigby and Hayton. Penney was good in the set piece and the back row combined the powers of Sam Thornber, the cunning of Eagle and the tenacity of Robertson.
This allowed Few at 9 to deliver quicker ball to the backs and Vaghetti, in one of his best games for the club, distributed well. The choice of going through the hands or utilising the electric pace of Barrett on the wing proved difficult to defend against for the hosts.
And the first try came through the forwards powering it up, a good break by Thornber, through the hands to Furbush on the wing who finished powerfully taking two defenders with him. A great try and it was repeated when again Furbush finished from not quite as far out but again an excellent try. Unfortunately no extras added either time but the visitors were leading 10 - 0.
Robertson, who was having a good game, had to come off due to injury. He was replaced by Chamberlain who went into the second row and Hayton into the back row. Chamberlain immediately made his presence felt with his uncompromising physicality and the Clitheroe forwards had the upper hand.
Again the yellow card jinx struck. Lafranceschina was harshly given a yellow for infringing in the ruck. The hosts took advantage, with their 8 and 9 at the heart of everything they did. Numerical advantage showed and the hosts got under the posts to score and at half time the score was 7-10 to Clitheroe.
Spence replaced the injured Eagle and Cathcart replaced Lafranceschina at full back with Fisher making his debut at outside centre. The second half kicked off and Bury piled the pressure on and on. Some great defending by Clitheroe kept them out. Vaghetti put his body, literally, on the line and Hayton, Rigby and Thornber put in big hits. Hayton was replaced by Haynes who immediately brought his trademark tackling to the fray.
Though Clitheroe absorbed the pressure they never really relieved it by playing in the hosts half. When they made the breaks, Dickinson making great carries throughout the match, they looked dangerous. Barrett, who looked dangerous every time he got the ball went over the line but his foot had just gone into touch.
Back came Bury, their number 8 leading the way and eventually following a series of infringements, some of which were very harsh, Vaghetti was shown a yellow card. Few, who is returning to good form was replaced by Barrett at scrum half and Fisher went from the centre to the wing.
Inevitably Bury used the advantage and their winger got over the line to score a try. The conversion was missed so with 10 mins left it was 12-10 to the hosts.
Clitheroe with 14 men went at the hosts in search of the win. They gained territorial advantage and were unlucky not to be awarded penalties as the home side defended with all they had. Lafranceschina replaced Cathcart who had taken a knock and Fisher made some strong carries.
With seconds to go, the forwards won the ball deep in the Bury half and the ball went out to Furbush, the final pass being adjudged as forward. This again was extremely harsh but the chance was gone and Bury held on.
Clitheroe deserved just to win the game but take nothing away from Bury who played very well and in a great spirit. This was a great game to watch and excellent entertainment.
Furbush, Thornber, Dickinson and Pate all had excellent games. However the man of the match for his performance and commitment was Marco Vaghetti (pic) who proved to all he really can tackle!
On this basis, Clitheore have nothing to fear from any of the teams left in the competition and they play a semi final on 21st April at a venue to be decided.