CLITHEROE seconds had gone far too many weeks without a win, despite putting in good performances against some of the best teams in the league in recent weeks.
However, last Saturday, the tide turned, and after another excellent team performance, Clitheroe got their deserved win against a resolute Colne and Nelson side.
With both usual captains, Wilkinson and Thornber, out of the side due to injury and promotion to the firsts respectively, it was left to fly half Gretton, ably assisted by number eight Williams, to lead out what was a very strong Clitheroe side.
Colne started the stronger, and after a series of penalties at the ruck conceded by the home team, the visitors were in scoring territory.
They made Clitheroe pay for their indiscipline by kicking the first points of the game, a penalty from the 22 after 10 minutes. This seemed to kickstart Clitheroe, and after fielding a clearing kick, full back Keough set off downfield, bumping off an opposing centre before offloading to Caunce.
The winger cut inside cleverly before allowing the ball to recycyled quickly, and centre Procter was on hand to score a splendid try, which he converted himself.
Procter’s fellow centre Rigby wasn’t to be outdone in the try department, and following an excellent turnover created by flanker Thatcher, scrum half Wood darted blind before passing to Rigby, who danced around the hapless defenders to score Clitheroe’s second try.
The home side were in control by this point, and perhaps should have extended their lead going into half time.
However, Colne were to retrieve the initiative, and despite heroic defence from many Clitheroe players, but specifically the back row players Newton and Williams, they scored the final try of the half under the Clitheroe sticks to take the score to 12-10 in Clitheroe’s favour.
A number of substitutions were made at half time to allow everyone to participate in the game, one of whom was new man Andy Fielding.
Fielding could be considered rather unlucky as, after only being on the field for one minute after the second half commenced, he was adjudged to have come from the wrong side of the ruck, and with Clitheroe previous indiscretions taken into account by referee Collins, he was duly sin-binned for 10 minutes.
Collins’ patience had obviously run out and Clitheroe’s hopes of starting the second half well were dealt a huge blow.
This was compounded by the ensuing successful penalty that took Colne into the lead for the first time at 13-12.
From the kick-off the forwards retained possession and drove well into the visitors’ half.
The ball was moved efficiently left to Procter in the centres, and after stepping inside to create more space outside, he offloaded to Rigby who also made good yards towards the try line.
The move was finished off beautifully with a final pass to flanker Thatcher, who was still practising his backs skills by being in the right place at the right time to score in the left corner to take the score to 17-13.
Colne hit straight back with a penalty before prop Graves did an impression of a runaway train as he gathered speed and momentum down the right hand touchline to score an brilliant 35-yrd solo try.
As the game moved into the final quarter, it was Clitheroe who were playing the stronger, and after constant pressure on the Colne line, Wood darted blind again and passed to captain Gretton, who chimed into the line from his new position of full back to sneak in at the corner.
Procter converted with aplomb.
The last try of the game exemplified the team ethic.
Brown was moved from the wing to scrum half to give veteran Wood a rest after what was an excellent performance, and after picking the ball up from the base of a ruck, he made good yards before passing to the supporting Fielding.
Fielding was dragged down just short, but the redoubtable Williams was on hand once more to pick up the ball and flop over the line to finish off the game at 36-16.
The game was a great spectacle and showed what this team is capable of.
Perhaps the most pleasing element to it all is that they are growing as a team and can certainly look forward to more wins through the rest of the season.
FINAL SCORE: Clitheroe 2nds 36, Colne & Nelson 16