Clitheroe Stumble at the Final Hurdle
Pie Drama at Wigan
Clitheroe went into the League 3 Cup Final at Wigan RUFC in good spirit after the win away at Prenton and with a full squad to choose from.
The match was hosted by Wigan RUFC on their excellent pitch and the weather was dry and conditions good.
Newton began the game on the front foot with a number of testing carries into the Clitheroe defence which held firm. Clitheroe slowly started getting into the game and Chamberlain made a strong carry which resulted in Newton infringing and Cuddy slotted the penalty to give Clitheroe the lead.
On 7 minutes Newton slotted their own penalty following an infringement by Clitheroe but a short time later Cuddy regained the lead as Clitheroe got into their groove and went through the phases. Clitheroe pressurised the Newton defence drawing penalty after penalty. This allowed Clitheroe to take a 9 - 3 lead but Cuddy had to be replaced by Peel due to injury.
Clitheroe were moving the ball well and looking cohesive and dangerous. Their play was drawing penalty after penalty from Newton and it was no surprise that a yellow card was given to a Newton player. Peel, who had replaced Cuddy as the kicker, slotted another penalty and it was all Clitheroe.
The Dickenson brothers were playing well, ably assisted by Thornber, Eagle and Graves. Few and Vaghetti were combining well and Dickinson and Slinger were looking dangerous.
The pressure continued and a high tackle from a Newton defender resulted in another yellow card. Clitheroe capitalised in this, moved the ball through the hands and Dickinson went over in the corner. Unfortunately the extras weren’t added but the half time break arrived with Clitheroe leading 17-3 and looking very good for it.
Sometimes in sport, things change for no apparent reason and this occasion was one of them. Clitheroe emerged in the second half and it was clear that their performance levels had dropped of slightly. Newton’s performance levels had increased and this gave a different context to the second half. Individual battles were lost, not by much, but that was all it needed. Newton, backed by a raucous support scored a try to bring the score to 17-8. Clitheroe can never be faulted on their commitment and maintained pressure on the Newton line. The forwards went through the phases, but the fluency wasn’t quite there. Instead of scoring the all important try all Clitheroe had to show was a penalty that took the score to 20-8.
The intensity of the game increased and Newton gave it their all. The game was approaching the last 10 mins and Newton scored a try following big carries from their back row. The conversion was added and all Clitheroe needed to do was get hold of the ball and go through some phases to take the sting out of Newton.
Unfortunately Clitheroe weren't able to do that. Newton maintained their pressure which led to mistakes in the Clitheroe defence that allowed Newton to cross again in the corner. The conversion was added, with the kicker being afforded respectful silence to slot an excellent kick.
Clitheroe never know when they are beaten and still came back with phase after phase in the Newton half.
This drew a penalty infringement from the Newton defenders and left a 30 metre penalty for Clitheroe to win the game. Peel, to a cacophony of unsporting boos from the Newton support, pushed the penalty just wide and the opportunity was gone.
This was a great effort by Clitheroe and they just fell short. Newton played an excellent second half and congratulations to them on victory.
However, Clitheroe have had another successful season overall and have been brilliantly led by Will Dickinson. It all bodes well for Clitheroe RUFC’s future.
Report by SD
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