Battling performance gives 2’s victory over league leaders
By Roger Holmes
Great Win for the 2's
Clitheroe hosted the league leaders on a damp (what else this season) afternoon at St Augustine’s school. Thanks to the school for allowing the use of the pitch in this challenging season weather wise.
The game kicked off with Clitheroe playing down the slope and with a strong side available, a close game was anticipated.
After the early exchanges, Clitheroe took the lead through a penalty following an infringement, Luke Mcmahon’s kicking skills proving invaluable. It appeared that Clitheroe had the upper hand initially in the set piece, with early territorial pressure yielding three great opportunities to cross the line but the chances were not taken.
Orrell then showed why they were league leaders as they came into the game. The set piece became even and the visitors got more ball allowing them to unleash their backs who caused problems for the Clitheroe defence. Greg Birch,Matt Bleasdale,Jamie Taylor and Austin Wensley all defended well as Orrell attacked. After a period of pressure Orrell scored a try which was converted to give the visitors the lead.
Clitheroe started to play more of the game in Orrell’s half through McMahon’ s kicking game. This allowed the home pack to exert pressure on their Orrell counterparts and eventually a penalty was conceded that McMahon slotted to take the score to 6-7. Unfortunately the excellent Birch suffered a knee injury and had to be replaced by Simon Gretton at full back with captain Taylor filling in on the wing.
After the break the Clitheroe forwards exerted themselves. Dan Jones and Pete Farnsworth are crucial to the powerhouse of the team and made those presence very much felt. Peter Mitchell made very strong carries throughout the match and some crunching tackles. Luke Hayton [pic] was everywhere on his return from injury, making good breaks and was excellent in the loose. Chris Birchall brought all his experience and scrummaged well and Will Jones was instrumental in everything Clitheroe did. Dave Watson brought his expertise and experience to the fray combining well with McMahon.
The line outs were not secure for either side but a series of line outs for Orrell were capitalised on by Clitheroe. Following confusion James Haynes seized the ball and stormed over for the try with McMahon converting. 13-7 to Clitheroe with 20 minutes to go!
This was backs to the wall stuff..McMahon marshalled his defence superbly. John Norman had a great game, smashing into tackles and carrying well. Bleasdale, always dangerous with ball in hand, received a high tackle and a visitor was sent to the bin. Still the pressure came, Taylor leading from the front with his tackling and running. Another Orrell player went to the bin but still the pressure came. Richard Murray entered the fray and displayed his skills and scrummaged very well as always. Clitheroe hung on for a famous deserved victory over a good Orrell side.
This victory was a team effort. A great team effort captained very well by Taylor. It must be said that Mitchell, Hayton and Norman were all excellent. Watson and McMahon were also huge parts of this victory.
Every Clitheroe player was immense this day but the man of the match for an absolutely outstanding performance was James ‘Taffy’ Haynes. His carrying, tackling and general presence carried the team over the line for a tremendous victory.
Report by SD