Home Win for the 2's
Maroons Climb up the table, just
Clitheroe 2nd XV took centre stage at Littlemoor last Saturday, and ground out their basement rivals Sedgely Park to leapfrog them off the the foot of the table.
Park brought a strong squad and the game was indeed close as the scoreline suggests, but Clitheroe have had renewed confidence over the last few weeks and the home win was as welcome as it was vital.
A perfect day for rugby cool but dry and the pitch in excellent order, top marks to groundsman Phil Isherwood, who has been down at RFU HQ Twickenham this week, to pass on some of his knowledge.
The Littlemoor men fielded a fairly strong side similar to last weeks heroics at Orrell but with Ethan Wringe making a rare appearance at scrum half. Stuart Railton moved across to outside half and Garry Pickup recovered from a dead leg to fill the No12 shirt. Matt Bleasdale came in at his favoured outside centre berth and the back three from last week were retained – Richard Thornber,Austin Wensley and Simon Gretton.
Up front there was a welcome recall for Danny Cowgill and for extra ballast - Luke Hayton in the back row.
Clitheroe started brightly and were ahead within 10 minutes when Wringe had muscled and squirreled his way over to open the home teams account.
This swelled Clitheroe's confidence and they were soon camped down on the Sedgely line. A mini campaign ensued with several scrums, close quarter rumbles and equally robust defence from the visitors. Front row men Chris Birchall, Adam Penney and Will Jones looking especially solid in the tight play, helped in no short order by the weight coming through from Pete Farnsworth and Kirk Kenyon.
Eventually from a thrust on the left flank the ball was spun right and when play was held up short it was veteran Andrew Thornber [pictured] who bulldozed over from mere inches to claim the touchdown. Cue jubilation in the Clitheroe ranks – but too soon.
Sedgley were roused by this affront and began to assert themselves. In fact they dominated the next 50 minutes of the game. As Clitheroe seemed to ease off, they began to fall off tackles and Park grabbed a try before half time o put themselves right back in it at 10-5 down.
The second half started no better for the home team as Park in turn spent ages in the Clitheroe 22. and it was no real surprise when the line was eventually breached. Fortunately the conversion was missed so scores tied.
Park however were still in the ascendancy and a penalty had by now put them ahead which was a fair reflection of play up to that point.
Clitheroe had by now emptied their bench and debutant Johnny Goulding was on at fly half, Tom Hardman at prop, Dave Watson at scrum half and fringe players Andrew Rigby and Mike Floyd wing-forward and wing threequarter respectively.
It took till the last 10 minutes for Clitheroe to arouse themselves, when they finally started to punch some holes in the visitors defence. Railton began to weave some neat lines opening up the field and Bleasdale hit the gas with a classic outside break and fed the lurking Wring to touchdown for the try to seal the win for Clitheroe.
A highly entertaining game where both sides had the chance to nick it. But played in good spirits, the Sedgely lads were a credit to their club.
Great to see the likes of Tom Hardman & Danny Cowgill back in Clitheroe colours, plus a handy debut for Johnny Goulding who showed some tidy moves and will be an asset to the team.
Report from Our Special Correspondent