U14s finally beat Fleetwood
By Christopher Barraclough
Plenty of TREDS on display
A huge thank you to Fleetwood U14s for another entertaining encounter between even teams. Coaching team from both sides look forward to close, well fought, aggressive but respectful and sporting encounters - this match added to this long run of crackers. TREDS on display a plenty.
Having lost out to Fleetwood twice already this season, both by last minute tries, Clitheroe U14s had to step up a gear and produce a consistent performance across the full 50 minutes. And they did just that. The game was an end to end affair, with the usual suspects (Sam et al!) from Fleetwood keeping the boys on their toes defensively. However, the boys have clearly developed defensively throughout the season and produced some superb defensive work to stifle the opposition's strong runners.
The first half was a typically close affair, but Clitheroe were ahead at the break thanks to some positive, front foot defensive work keeping much of the play in the Fleetwood half. With scores under the posts, and conversions taken, Clitheroe led into the break 12-7.
Having faltered against Fleetwood previously, it was a relief to see Clitheroe add to the scoreboard first again in the second half to take a more comfortable 19-7 lead. However, Fleetwood were never going to allow that to stand and two quick tries, one a superb solo effort from the kick off, drew them back to 19-17. Clitheroe were just fortunate that the extras were missed from difficult, distant angles.
Crunch time! With good advice and encouragement from three of our U18 Colts (thanks Benji, Patrick and Joe) the boys steelied themselves to go again and largely camped in the Fleetwood half for the remainder of the half. Particularly impressive was a cheeky ripped ball from Parker, just as Fleetwood looked as though they had stolen the ball and relieved pressure - this resulted in the next score, under the posts, to re-establish a two score lead. 26-17. Fleetwood's Sam finally got the score his tenacity deserved, with an excellent conversion from the Fleetwood captain Stuart brought the visitors back within range at 26-22, but unlike previous games Clitheroe responded positively to add again through a typically strong run from Dickenson and added again at the death to make the final score 36-22.
As I said to the boys afterwards, I think that they have played more expansive and exciting rugby elsewhere this season, in patches, but this was satisfying as it was a proper 50 minute performance. Particular credit and mentions to Greenwood, for being a typical terrier at breakdowns with some excellent counter-rucking, and superb defensive work from Ali out wide. Thanks also to Worthy, for braving up and making a debut at No10 - typical confidence from the young man and some excellent kicking skills too.