THe opening weekend of the league campaign saw Clitheroe grind out a narrow victory at a rain-lashed Littlemoor.
Ashton started at a tremendous tempo, and had Clitheroe in all sorts of bother defending desperately on their own try line. A series of punishing close drives were repelled time and again. But eventually a penalty kick was forced and Ashton were 3-0 to the good.
Clitheroe began to adapting to the pace of the league, having moved sideways during the close season from the NW Raging Bull set-up,
ButAshton made it through the defensive line to score just wide of the posts. Crucially, the conversion sailed wide.
Clitheroe roared back and some strong drives from the pack brought them within range, and Ashton were forced into retreat and went down to 14 men, with their prop sin binned following an off the ball altercation.
As Ashton tried to clear their line, centre Nathan Peel charged down the kick and fly half Stuart Railton was on hand to toe poke the ball over the line and dive on it to claim the score. Martin Lafranceschina was on hand with the extras.
With the interval looming Ashton slotted another penalty to make it 11-7 at the break.
In the second half, a penalty, courtesy of Lafranceschina, brought Clitheroe to within a point.
Clitheroe’s increased fitness and pressure told, and with one more kick from Lafranceschina, Clitheroe were ahead for the first time.
With 10 minutes to see out, the home team had to withstand a trial by fire, but Clitheroe declined to yield and the relief at the final whistle was palpable.
Final Score: Clitheroe RUFC 13, Ashton-under-Lyne 11
The seconds started with a 73-10 defeat at Orrell thirds.
JUNIOR RUGBY RESTARTS
Clitheroe Rugby Club Junior Section recommences after the summer break this Sunday morning, at 10 a.m.
Outgoing Junior Chairman Paul Taberner has been succeeded by current first team captain and Under 15s coach Oliver McEntyre.
Registration will start from 10 a.m. in the clubhouse, and if you’d like to find out more, please contact Bob Wilkinson on 07962 099935 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org