After a bruising battle away at Thornton Cleveleys in the previous week , Clitheroe were well prepared for what would be another full on encounter. The visitors, Dukinfield RFC, had done a number on the maroons back in mid September in a game they had all the capabilities of winning.
But Duk are a canny team full of old, and even older, heads who can draw you into an arm wrestle from which the unsuspecting can find it difficult to escape from.
This time after some early problems, Clitheroe figured out the answers and ran out comfortable seven try winners.
DoR Dave ‘Oddjob’ Watson had rung the changes in selection bringing in former enfant terrible from self imposed wilderness, Rick Slinger into the pack. There was a return for the versatile Adam Spencer at fly half and AD Davies skipping school for the day in the centres. Nick Roberts moved to No 8 and
the pocket dynamo Nathon Burns returned from judo duties at scrum half.
The best day for rugby of the year so far with a lovely playing surface prepared by groundsman Phil Isherwood. The crowd was a little sparse at first with the attraction of the England game on TV in the clubhouse, but filled up later on as it was the England game on TV.
Clitheroe took a wile to hit their straps but soon forced a penalty in front of the posts. As usual the three points were ershewed for a line out that came to naught. Fortunately a counter attack from deep resolved the problem. Some good support and interplay down the left flank set Matt Mason clear to open his and Clitheroe’s account. Conversion over by Burns the Smaller, and things were looking good.(7-0)
The visitors had other ideas and came storming back and force a try after a close range scummage (7-7).
The home team still confident were sensing chinks in the Dukinfield defence. Joe Wilkinson was next to profit after a good line out set up he broke through and with a bit to do crashed over for a good try. Extras over (14-7)
Clitheroe were now pressing strongly; and another penalty gave the opportunity for Burns N. to tap and pass to brother Burns J. to drive over for an excellent props try – about five yards out, but will be twenty five after retelling several times. (21-7) .
Duk were not done and scored an identikit try in the bottom corner to put the score at half time 21-12.
Into the second stanza and playing with slope in their favour Clitheroe looked fresh and a penalty after five minutes steadied the ship (24-12)
Thereafter Clitheroe had their tails up and started to to run away with game. Using the width and pace in the back line along with the mobile loose forward they scored many more tries.
Ed Sinclair was first to profit when a flowing move broke down under the posts, a good recycle and he burrowed over.
Spencer was orchestrating things well at out half, spreading the ball intelligently for the likes of Tattersall and Cathcart to set up the supporting players.
Matt Mason grabbed his second followed by Oscar Duck after heading the ball back into his own hands. Mason crossed for a well deserved hat trick, top reward for his endevour.
Dukinfield to their credit did not lie down and grabbed a couple back and were attacking strongly for the bonus point, but some superb resilient defence denied them.
A great afternoons entertainment for the home faithful support, with the lads showcasing some lovely running lines and first class support play.
Clitheroe move up to 6th in the table with the ambition and ability to climb higher. Starting this weekend with a testing trip to Orrell RUFC.