The Starship Enterprise cruises into quarter finals.
By Roger Holmes
Kirkys troops go boldly on
A solid looking squad assembled for the anticipated Cup tie against Old frenemies Ashton Under Lyne.
Buoyed by the unexpected a availability of stalwarts Simon Gretton and Jim Smith were able to not only congratulate Dom Styler and Lewis Riley on their match day call ups to the firsts but also still filed a full bench.
Ashton are no mugs and despite arriving late had a squad of 17.
From the start it was clear that the weather was going to limit the impact of either back line, which looked a shame for the all star second team three quarters.
Ashton started brightly and pressed the maroons testing their defence. The maroons were resolute in defence and absorbed the Ashton pressure with some aggressive defence. Both sides found themselves receiving warnings from the no nonsense ref.
Clitheroe's defence forced a turnover and allowed the team to move up the park. A solid scrum led to Kino scything through to get the game underway, token added the extras.
The team worked their way back up the pitch and after some neat phases happy Pete Farnsworth [pic] crashed over from 15 yards (which somehow took him 20 seconds to cover) again token converted the cavaliers were cruising.
Or so they thought. For some reason we stopped playing or rather tackling. Ashton had some talented players in their side who were more than happy to exploit some poor play. It was possibly the worst 10 minutes of play this side has put together this season, the three quarters worked tirelessly as the packs fringe defence went to pot. Despite some valiant last ditch stuff from super Simon Gretton, Ashton scored two quick tries and the boys were on the ropes.
At times like these a team needs players to put their hands and take responsibility. The pack clearly stung by that poor period responded by taking complete control of the set piece, demolishing the Ashton line out and scrum in short order.
The set piece dominance led a penalty in front of the sticks after Ashton three quarters didn't retreat as quickly as their pack which Token converted. Another followed this time for ashton's flanker trying to pick up the ball from another retreating scrum. Again captain kirk seeing the steam rapidly leaving the Ashton team took the points.
From the restart one of the lighter moment presented itself, Kirky was clearly preoccupied with writing his captains log dropped a fairly straight forward restart. No whistle because the ref decided to play advantage a decision as it turned out for the Ashton hooker which suited Clitheroe more. Kirk eager to make amends for the dropped ball worked up a head of steam and smashed into the Ashton 2. The poor lad would have been better off tackling a tree or as the ever humble Kirk loudly announced now you know what it feels like to run into a wall.
At the half the game was poised. 20-12 to the home side. But the 2's were in the ascendancy. The pack continued to make amends after the break with Happy Pete scoring again (much to the crowds disappointment). Token converted and Ashton imploded.
The rain eased and with the tight five in control the back row were able to express themselves in a more attacking role. Token 2, Tom the Scouse Scally who was looking to build some match fitness after injury showed a touch of class to break the line and then slide over for a try. Then in the second strange twist he stepped to take the conversion. He clearly took too long adjusting his hair as the Ashton players charged down his kick only for Tom to attempt to knock the Ashton player between the uprights. The game restarted with an Ashton penalty.
With Clitheroe in Control a couple of players made way for the bench with Patrick Enion and George Horsfield stepping up to the senior team.
Ashton were falling apart having found themselves dominated up front they quickly got them on the wrong side of the ref. A sin binning took Ashton down to 14 and kino needed no invitation to score after some neat footwork from Mcmahon wrong footed the defence. Conversion added. Matt Probart, having a solid outing, added some gloss by bursting through his opposite number and offloading to Jim Smith who set the ruck three passes later and Tom the scouse scally put any fitness concerns behind him by scoring his second conversion added. Ashton lost one player to injury and another to a bout of self pity were reduced to 12, the game had been over for some time so Clitheroe offered the services of their unused sub Adam Penny to the Ashton boys who were glad to accept him. Despite his complaining Penny was a good addition and played a nice cameo albeit for the wrong side.
There was still plenty of time to spare when Scally Tom completed his hat trick to the score to 47 - 12 but Ashton had had enough of the ref and vice versa so the ref called the game with 12 minutes (and at least 20 points for the cavaliers to go).
Overall a great win onto the quarter finals..........
Report by WRJ