A tale of two halves
By Roger Holmes
Great second half; stinker first half
The sunshine hit Littlemoor hard on Saturday as a fever of the Cup variety broke out. Or to put it more precisely the Quarter Final of the Robinsons Brewery Shield.
With the tantalising temptation of a trip to Robinsons Brewery, or whatever the prize for the winners is or was, the 2's under the excellent leadership of Captain Kirk Kenyon (KK) , took to the field to face a strong Leigh 3rd XV for a winner takes all tie.
By half time the contest seemed almost over, as Leigh cruised into a healthy lead. The second half proved a different story however....
Back to the kick off and Clitheroe were welcoming back rotund prop/hooker Will Dickenson to action after a lay off of several months, although he helpfully admitted he'd not layed off the beer & pies in the mean time. But a boost to the maroons all the same.
He was joined in the pack by Danny Cowgill and Richard 'Nobs' Thornber both of whom shone on and off the pitch, in last weeks NW mini tour to the shipyards.
Among the backs was Matty Probart linking up again with Simon Wrigley at 10 & 9. Proby had not only got some brand new boots, but had conveniently announced his Welsh heritage, which the Kirby Lonsdale exile had previously, and indeed mysteriously, kept very well hidden. No wonder he looked so smug after in the bar.!
With a bench full of eager beavers waiting to get on the game commenced with Clitheroe attacking down the slope.
Attacking was putting it bit strong because it was mainly defending as they were getting bossed at the breakdown and the Leigh kicking game was giving the maroons all sorts of trouble.
Lack of communication in defence, leading to some schoolboy blunders let Leigh in for a number of scores and and attacks from the Littlemoor men were snuffed out by solid tackling.
So 25 points adrift at the half time lemons, KK let the team have it both barrels. A few changes from the bench were made to freshen up the team.
On came the newly hirsute Andrew 'Tubber' Thornber, another one back after a long term sick note from matron – this time with a baffling right bicep problem – enough to curtail any gentleman's leisure activities.
The enforced rollocking from the skipper seemed to galvanise Clitheroe and they began to play themselves back into the game.
As Clitheroe improved, Leigh began to run out of steam, and the tide had well and truly turned.
The golden boy pair of Joe Weld-Blundell and Shane Duthie began to ask questions of the wide defence. Leaving the forwards to butter up the supertankers closer in.
After big boys had been pounding away repeatedly for some time, they built up a head of steam so that something had to give. The release came in the form of James Dickinson who squirted over between the uprights to open Clitheroes account.
Probart couldn't find a kicking tee for the conversion so drop kicked it over in the best Barry John style.
Clitheroe now had their gander up and the Leigh outfit were looking goosed. Again down in the the clubhouse corner the lads gathered and soon struck gold. KK himself [pic] dramatically drove for glory, and after the defender back scuttled, flopped over from at least a yard out.
Probart, now equipped with aforesaid tee, slotted the conversion with his new boots from the touchline. All of a sudden it was game on.
Now the backs looked to get in on the action, and JWB and the South African Duthie with hair flying in all directions, were wriggling and jinking causing panic in the Leigh defence.
One such move led to Matty Bleasedale loop round and power over to score a well worked try. Cue: wild cheering from the Bleasedale touchline entourage.
Proby slotted the extras again and what looked like an impossible and highly unlikely victory at half time was suddenly a real possibility.
But try as they might, father time got the better of them and although straining desperately for a final push it was not to be as the ref blew for full time.
The cup/shield run over for another season. It was a blast but no silverware this time. Back to league action this week at Ramsgreave Drive, home of local rivals Blackburn RFC