AFTER an appalling first 10 minutes, Clitheroe looked like they were heading for another reverse at Carnforth.
Two tries in quick succession left the Littlemoor outfit reeling.
To compound things, dependable inside centre Chris Waddington was forced off with a tight hamstring.
On came young Mark Piercy into the back row and versatile flanker Struan Robertson moved to scrum half, with Dave Watson from there to outside half.
Finally a slightly shell-shocked team began to hit their straps and find some rhythm. Looking good at line out time, spring-heeled Richard Slinger and Andrew Rigby (both pictured) were safe on their own ball and causing the opposition problems on their own put in. They began to produce some quick ball for the back line to probe for gaps. Eventually the pressure told and Clitheroe got on the score board with a well-struck penalty from Oliver McLean.
And Clitheroe piled forward for the remainder of the half.
Sensing dominance at line out time, a penalty kick for the corner gave them the position to attack from five metres.
All that was needed was a calm, measured catch and drive, and it worked to perfection; Adam Penny into Slinger, a short rumble from the big guys and over the line. Prop Jim Smith coming up with the ball in hand.
So 12-7 adrift at the interval, and from that catastrophic start, Clitheroe began to feel a little more positive.
So much so that after only a few minutes of the second half, they had repeated the task at the other end of the pitch. This time Ross Chamberlain emerged from the pile up with the ball, and suddenly Clitheroe were in the lead by a point.
Now the game was wide open. Clitheroe ran the ball at every opportunity and forced Carnforth into retreat on many occasions, but only to see the pass going to ground or the ball spilled in contact.
From one such occasion the home side launched a counter attack to give them a try and to retake the lead.
Undaunted, it was all out attack again for the maroons and they were well rewarded for their invention, when centre McLean burst through for a superb solo try under the posts. With the conversion, Clitheroe were again with their noses in front.
Carnforth’s never say die attitude came to the fore, and roared on by the crowd put Clitheroe under enormous pressure for the final quarter.
With the clock running down, a penalty was conceded and up stepped Carnforth’s kicker. A nerveless kick under some pressure tied up the scores.
FINAL SCORE: Carnforth 20, Clitheroe 20
Clitheroe host Birchfield at Littlemoor on Saturday (3 p.m.).