Clitheroe closed their home campaign in style against Ormskirk on a glorious day at Littlemoor.
But they did not have things all their own way, with Ormskirk’s young half backs combining well to give the visitors an opening try out wide, although the conversion was missed.
The Maroon and Gold forwards responded by grinding their way towards their usual power-packed display.
From a turnover ball, the ball was slipped via eight, scrum half and stand-off to Bartle at inside centre, whose sublime run made it within inches of the line, but the Ormskirk defence flopped over the ball and from the resulting penalty Peel dissected the posts.
The restart was gathered by Chamberlain, who bullocked up the pitch and set up a good attacking position. Again the backline were unleashed and scorched into the Ormskirk half – desperate defence usually leads to an attacking ball penalty in rugby, and this game was no different. Again Peel stepped up coolly to slot the deserved points, and he added two more before half-time to nudge Clitheroe into a 12-8 lead at the break.
Looking to capitalise on Ormskirk’s mistakes, the players gambled as the referee played a penalty advantage to the Maroon and Gold.
Peel was having a great game at stand-off, and, after some good interplay with open-side flanker Si Cowgill, he touched down near the posts and converted his own try.
Good driving from Ed Thornber and McEntyre put Clitheroe on the front foot once more, and the ball spun wide through half backs and out to Bartle, who took another great run up the park, and slipped a good pass to Dickinson at outside centre. With Bleasdale in support, he glided over the line to score.
Mick Thornber took the re-start and powered up the pitch, setting up the ruck. Clitheroe moved it out wide and chipped over the top – Ormskirk returned with the ball, and rolled a maul five yards before their swift scrum half jinked his way over to claw back the score to 24-15 and make Clitheroe feel a little uncomfortable.
An immediate response was required to seal the match, and Clitheroe rallied well and attacked the Ormskirk line, Hough joining the line from full back to get the ball moving wide. Bartle again popped up on one of his trademark runs to go within 10 metres, and and from the ensuing ruck it looked like Aaron Shread was going to cap a fine debut with a try, only to be called back by the referee.
Shortly after Danny Cowgill had joined the fray on the wing, and in a near blueprint move was judged to taken a forward pass with the line at his mercy. Seconds later he was again unlucky not to score and Clitheroe backs and forwards were running amock.
Next Ormskirk dropped a high kick, and with their scrum firmly in reverse though the power of the Clitheroe tight five, the visiting eight and scrum half were having a torrid time at the base of the scrum.
As the scrum half tried to get the ball away, Chamberlain pounced like a cat on a rat from the blind side flank and nailed him, and as he clung on desperately to the ball, McEntyre came in from eight to assist and the ball popped out the Clitheroe side and flicked down the line for Dickinson to claim his second score of the game, 29-15.
Another first XV debutant joined the field in the shape of Luke Hayton, who put in some crunching tackles at vital times for Clitheroe, who were now in control of the game both numerically and physically, apart from odd flashes of good play from Ormskirk.
Again the visitors’ scrum was heading back at a rate of knots, and again Clitheroe looked to capitalise, but such was their dominance many scrums were being stopped for safety reasons.
As Ormskirk tried to clear the line, Watson caught the kick and popped to Bartle, who got a very well-deserved try to push the game clearly beyond Ormskirk at 34-15, who did gain a compensation try in the dying minutes to finish the game 34-22.
Man of the match was Peel.
Clitheroe travel to Rossendale tomorrow, Good Friday, for their final match of the season.
Clitheroe seconds lost 17-54 to Preston Grashoppers sixths in their last home game of the season.
Procter’s men found themselves a score up after an energetic opening, however, Preston quickly hit back with their back row and centres proving difficult to bring down.
Full back Clemmey played well on his belated return to Clitheroe colours while the evergreen Platt and youngster Newton again showed good form.
• ON May 7th, Clitheroe accept the traditional challenge of the President’s Invitation XV, competing for the Nick Hopwood Memorial Trophy.
Prior to the big game there is the inaugural appearance of a Clitheroe Veterans’ XV, with Kirby Lonsdale kindly agreeing to come down for the game.
The vets are to be skippered by Chris Bossonet, who is on the look out for extra players of the correct vintage!
Call Chris on 07951573575.
After the vets’ game there is a celebratory luncheon for players, past players members and friends. To be included on the list for the meal, call Andrew Burrill (079783574408) or e-mail through www.clitheroerugby.com or directly to firstname.lastname@example.org