CLITHEROE seconds withstood a second half fightback to record an impressive 32-14 win over Burnley.
Captain Wilkinson had his returning fellow captain Thornber to select from this week, and between them they had to trim down to a squad of 20, although true stalwart Geoff Williamson was allowed to take to the field for the final 15 minutes as Clitheroe’s 21st man in what is his 51st year in all and 35th at the club.
Wilkinson exhorted his team to start as well as they had in previous games, and that they did. The ball was retained well by the forwards and the backs showed their determination to run at every opportunity right from the first whistle.
Dowson and Thornber were marshalling the forwards and Farnsworth was at his dangerous best, especially when Clitheroe were awarded penalties. Meanwhile, Brown was feeding Bartle well and as a consequence, Bartle kept his opposite number on his toes all game.
It took around 10 minutes for Clitheroe to break down the Burnley defence whereby Bartle found himself with time and space out on the left and he wriggled his way over to make it 5-0. Dowson followed soon after with a try of his own from all of three yards. Keough missed by a whisker so the score remained at 10-0.
Clitheroe lost a little momentum for the next 10 minutes or so and Burnley showed they could play a little. However, the wind was knocked completely out of their sails as debutant Connell sprinted towards the try line. The full back did well to catch him and as he was brought to the ground he offloaded excellently to Wilkinson who gratefully took the pass before sliding over the line.
So, Clitheroe turned at the break 15-0 to the good and with more hope for the same it looked good for the home team, especially after Hardy scored a try and Keough slotted a penalty to extend the lead yet further. However, they didn’t quite bank on Burnley hitting back as well as they did and Clitheroe found themselves under enough pressure to concede two tries in the opening 20 minutes of the second half to take the score to 25-14. Pressure was finally relieved after a tense time on the Clitheroe line when Hayton crossed for the final try of the game. Keough added the extras to take the final score to 32-14.
Full back Keough was deservedly awarded man-of-the-match but Bartle, Hardy and Connell must have run him close.
On Saturday Clitheroe take on Colne and Nelson.