2's Squeak Home
By Roger Holmes
Local Derby Day Thriller
The day before the day before Christmas saw a late change of venue for the 2nd XV.
With games on the Littlemoor pitch out of the question a request to Blackburn to accomodate us at Ramsgreave Drive got the thumbs up.
So with a sizeable Christmas jumper bedecked crowd watching on what was a decent surface but with a cold Northerly breeze doing not much about blowing the low hanging mist in the air.
A very entertaining and hard fought derby tussle ensued, with both teams very evenly matched.
Clitheroe were able to welcome back some holidaying students to add a bit of youth and lower the usual average age of the team. Tom Walton, the perpetual student, came on the bench as front row cover . Plus two lads made it from abroad; Joe Weld-Blundell jetted in on a private jet from Italy and Simon Cowgill snuck through border control on the M62 from Sheffield.
Blackburn , the visitors on their own patch, had the preponderance of territory in the first half and Clitheroe's defence was made to work double time to keep the bulky 'Burn forwards out. They eventually got over for a score but Clitheroe soon struck back with an excellent team try.
A strong thrust up the middle made good yardage from the pack and the the ball was swung to the left where Matt Bleasdale made a fine break before hand on to Gary Pickup on the wing. Still with plenty to do, Gaz then lit the afterburners and powered down the line to scoot round under the sticks.
Cue : jubilation in the maroon & gold section of the crowd.
James Cathcart converted and the scores remained the same at the turn round
The second half was nail biting stuff and the game could have gone either way. Clitheroe were gaining ascendancy at the scrummage but 'Burn brought on some tricky speedsters in the backs.
When 'Burn scored another with 20 minutes to go - a grandstand finish was on the cards.
Under the stern watching gaze of Head Coach Getty Schinkel , no doubt running an eye over several 1st XV squad fringe players, the lads stepped up the tempo.
Even when the obligatory derby day argy-bargie occurred the maroons did not take a backward step. Cowgill was winding them up along side Pete Farnsworth who was taking no nonsense.
Some strong carries from the likes of Pete Mitchell and Niall Spence gave the side a good field position, and a super outside break from debuant Sam White gave him the space to shoot over for the clinching score.
When no side was blown by the referee shortly afterwards Clitheroe were well chuffed and helped erase the memory of a one point reverse at the hands of the same team last season.
Report by Our Special Correspondent