WHAT a carry on! In the proverbial tale of two halves, Clitheroe contrived to throw away a half-time lead, and in so doing left themselves firmly rooted to the foot of the table.
After what was a bright start, on the heavy-ish going, but an uncommonly dazzling sun dappled day at Littlemoor. the Maroons were a converted try in credit within the first half hour.
A long range penalty kick and it was happy days as their lead stretched to 10 points.
Now dominant at the scrimmage and line out set pieces, just what could go wrong?
Well, quite a lot as it turned out.
But to rewind back to the start; some re-jigging of last week’s team was necessary.
Struan Robertson slotted into the middle of the front row for the first time, leaving his berth on the flank open for promising young buck Mark Piercy.
Another fresh face in the pack was the baby faced prop Barclay Roberts – in to add a bit of prime beef to the scrum.
At scrum half, the evergreen, Dave Watson returned from injury. There was, at last, a first start in the senior XV for Oliver McLean, after some rave reviews in the second XV over the last few weeks.
A bad start for winger James Waterworth though; injured, before hostilities had even commenced, in the warm up. Off the bench in his place came eager beaver Gregor Birch.
Playing up the slope in the first half, Clitheroe had to weather a Chorley onslaught for the opening period. But when a turnover was effected, they piled forward with relish and were soon camped on the Chorley line. Some neat inter-passing between the forwards and it was Scotsman Robertson who squirmed over for the try. James Dickinson was on hand with the extras.
Things were looking good, and when a penalty was given at least 50 metres out, McLean was not shy in coming forward to try his hand, or foot. A booming howitzer kick was released as it sailed through the uprights with plenty to spare. The touchline audience liked that one.
Half-time came, and the home team seemed comfortable at 10-0 to the good.
More of the same please -was the message from captain and coach.
But how frustrating it was for the Clitheroe faithful, to watch on helplessly, as Chorley slowly chipped away the precious lead. A try soon after the restart halved the deficit and suddenly Clitheroe’s game plan and structure deserted them.
Individuals running hither and tither with little thought on what they were supposed to be doing.
Furrowed brows on the touchline became deeper as the home team huffed and puffed with little real effect.
Still strong in the set piece, surely it’s not going to slip away?
A penalty, now it’s 10-8 and time is running down. Chorley gains another penalty. It slides across the face of the posts. A let off!
But still the ball cannot be cleared away down field and the visitors smell blood.
A deft chip over the top, a kind bounce, no one home and they’re in for the clinching try. A conversion just rubs the salt even further in.
Plaudits to Chorley for never giving up, but major frustration for Clitheroe, who, in the second half, just never managed to get their game going properly.
Back to the drawing board!
FINAL SCORE: Clitheroe 10, Chorley 15