Kirky's Men Undone on the Road
By Roger Holmes
Injury woes continue .......
Skipper Kirk Kenyon spread his selection net far and wide for the the first game of the new year at Rochdale's superbly appointed ground and clubhouse .
A varied mixture of 50 somethings with some callow youths and some other allsorts were thrown in for good measure. So a good sized squad of 22 or so assembled for the warm up. Fortunately Dale had similar numbers so it was game on for upwards of 45+ players .
Adam Penney, the diminutive PE teacher , frustrated from not being able to exert any authority over the holidays, led the warm up - much to the chagrin of the supertankers up front. Fearing his team would be exhausted before kick off , the Skipper and team retreated to the changing rooms just as the opposition were emerging to start.
Fortified by application of horse lineament, deep heat and more bandages than an Egyptian mummy the game commenced.
Probably due to an excess of mince pies , Rochdale were first out of the blocks , leaving Clitheroe a try down after five minutes.
The watching officials and oversized bench murmured uneasily thinking it was going to be 'one of those days'.
The Chairman of the Playing Committee was on hand to oversee the rolling substitutions , and had luckily been presented with the captains code book that held all the permutations for players on/off at what time and which position. Unfortunately no one had an Enigma machine to decode Kirkys scibblings, and after Garth Spencer was off with a shoulder sprain the book went out of the window.
Back to the game and Clitheroe began to get into it. Some good close quarter rumbles from the forwards, with Ralph Rigby and Happy Pete Farnsworth in the thick of it, the backs joined in and spread the ball left. Full back Joe Smith was in the line and was held up short. From the ensuing pile up on the line, it was prop Chris Birchall who claimed the touchdown .
His reward? Instant substitution - all part of KK's master plan ?
Clitheroe were next to strike. Matt Furbush (pic) was on in the unfamiliar no 10 shirt, and was making good yardage whenever he had the ball.
Eventually he decided to pass the ball and the bearded wonder Joe Smith, a person who looks like he gets dressed blindfolded, scooted in for the maroons second. Furby was on target with the extras this time.
Unfortunately he was soon own injured himself. The more cynical touch line observers may have thought it was a ploy for more of the 'magic sponge' treatment from Physio Eve. But alas it turns out a tad more serious - get mended soon Furby lad. ( a good excuse to hang round the treatment room now)
Rochdale fought back and by the interval it was 10-12 to the Littlemoor men.
Again a number of changes were made to give everyone game time. This seemed to unsettle the team at first and they were left reeling for the first 20 minutes of the half when Dale threatened to run away with the game.
Martin Teflon O'Connor was on , then off with a bloody and bent beak before he had chance to show his binding pace and special handling skills .
A severe talking to from the skipper seemed to reenergise the lads and the final period was all Clitheroe.
Some big rumbles from James Pate and Tom Walton made mighty inroads. Aided and abetted by the supporting Austin Wensley and Josh Dolan led to Niall Spence being able to drive over for a well deserved try for the hooker.
Alas time ran out for the comeback and Rochdale avenged their early season defeat at Littllemoor.
An excellent and entertaining game played in good spirits by both teams only marred by Clitheroes injury list.