TC take the Spoils in the Rain
By Roger Holmes
Vastly Improved Performance from the Maroons
Winter came to Littlemoor last Saturday; incessant rain in the preceding few days and some heavy morning showers had left the surface a tad softer than of late.
Some urgent prematch forking managed to remove the majority of the remaining surface puddles to leave a surprisingly decent pitch – a minor triumph after the summer drainage works.
The maroons have had a tough time of late, with injuries and unavailabilities taking their toll leaving a dip in confidence amongst the lads.
There are glimpses of recovery with some players returning to the colours and some of the old swagger is coming back.
Old friends Thornton Cleveleys are going well in this division and after putting Clitheroe to the sword in a cup game a fortnight ago they may have expected a repeat performance.
It was not to be. In fact a full bloodied see saw game ensued. The Littlemoor men ahead at the interval leaving TC to dig deep to take the spoils at the final whistle.
Clitheroe were pleased to welcome back Sam Tarbuck and Jarvis Stanton in the pack and with Niall Spence enjoying his move to the middle of the front row, the forwards had a far more mobile meaningful look.
Playing down the slope to in the first period, Clitheroe surprised their visitors somewhat by camping down in their 22 for the first 15 minutes. The result: one try for Ralph Rigby – almost falling over the line from a line out. Another one from prop James Pate [pic] – crashing over from short range – (though it was claimed much further after a few clubhouse beers).
One conversion from Matty Furbush and Clitheroe were 12-0 up.
A perhaps slightly stunned TC began to rouse themselves and hit back fairly quickly with two tries and Furbush knocked over a penalty to put Clitheroe 15-10 up at the break.
Nip and tuck for a while in the second half with neither side managing to grab hold of the game. TC looked dangerous when spraying the ball out wide, but Clitheroe aided by the slippery conditions where largely up to the task of defending.
It wasn't to last and the dam broke when TC skipped in for a converted try. They followed with another and maybe the watching faithful thought that was it.
15-24 ahead, the visitors kept attacking and were anxious to play a wide game. They came unstuck when Clitheroe pounced on a dropped pass and James Dickinson scooted home to give the maroons a fillip. No extras but a lifeline at 20-24 with the clock running down.
Tc went search for the bonus point and got it with under 10 minutes to play by notching up another converted try. 20-31
Clitheroe seemed down but were certainly not out. They dragged their dog tired bodies forward for the final stanza.
A couple of close line out drives came to naught but the danger was never over for the visitors when another forwards rush resulted in the well seasoned Rigby being again somehow on hand to flop dramatically over the line to close the gap 25-31.
Time ran out on the Littlemoor side in the end, and although they battled marvellously; it was one they know they could have sneaked a win from.
A little more composure at times, a few kicks going over, a little more fitness – small but important, but fixable details make the difference on the day.
Clitheroe welcome Bury this Saturday in their final home game of the year.
More of the same is minimum now. Preparation is key. Bring it on.