CLITHEROE could have no complaints as they lost their opening home fixture on Saturday.
In spite of a number of absentees, a fairly settled team was dispatched to the field.
A sizable Littlemoor crowd watched on as both teams set to their task with some relish, and big hits and dropped balls, from both sides, seemed to be the feature of the opening exchanges.
Clitheroe were first on the scoreboard with a well- worked try for Rick Slinger, who was on hand after some quality build up work by the pack. Lafranceschina was on target with the extras.
However, the Merseyside visitors struck back with a try of their own almost immediately, swiftly followed by a penalty as they took the lead into the break.
During the interval, with Adam Penny on to replace the injured Aaron Shread in the front row, with the slope in their favour, Clitheroe started brightly and soon gained territorial advantage in the Crosby 22. But they could just not sustain the pressure for long enough, and the visitors were let of the hook time and again.
Clitheroe’s frustration began to work against them, and saw Railton spend 10 minutes in the cooler.
The home team manfully tried to stem the tide, but Crosby took advantage to stretch away.
By the time Clitheroe were back to full compliment, they got back into gear, and after a prolonged assault on the try line, Greg Birch scampered over.
Crosby hit back in kind and the maroon and golds attacked again, wave upon wave of drives, and eventually Slinger was over in the top corner to tie up the scores.
With time running out and a draw on the cards, Crosby launched one last foray into the Clitheroe half. The home team defended stoutly – but a penalty, followed by an opinion to the referee – 10 yards extra- and it was within kicking range. No problem for the Crosby kicker to seal the win for the visitors.
Between the nonsense there was some very good rugby from the home team; Chris Waddington had a sound game in the centres, Sam Thornber was industrious in the second row and Struan Robertson was a non-stop human dynamo in the back row.
Regrettably it proved to be an excellent display of how not to play the ref, and indeed if the Crosby had a better kicker they would have been further ahead.
This Saturday Clitheroe travel to local rivals Colne and Nelson.
FINAL SCORE: Clitheroe 24, Crosby St Mary’s 27
AFTER last week’s excellent start to the season, Clitheroe seconds built on that win at Colne.
Colne dictated the early play, using their forwards well. but Clitheroe absorbed the pressure, then started to believe in themselves a little more. The midfield pairing of Hardy and McLean were getting good ball from half backs Brown and Sharples, and Clitheroe drove up field to good effect.
After 15 minutes, Clitheroe had a chance to take the lead with a penalty, but this was pulled wide by full back Keough. This only spurred on the visitors, and after receiving the ball in midfield after a good set-piece by the Clitheroe pack and excellent midfield bursts from Hardy, his fellow centre McLean started off on a mazy run before scoring to the left of the posts for his fourth try in two games.
Although Keough couldn’t add the extras, it helped to set Clitheroe going.
Clitheroe turned the screw and after a good attacking kick from scrum half Brown into the opposition 22 was snaffled back up by the Clitheroe number eight, the ball was moved quickly between Hardy and the eventual try scorer Townsend. Again the conversion went wide.
Colne hit back immediately with a try of their own but their fightback was short-lived as McLean again scorched in for a try from within his own half to make it 15-7 at the half.
In the second half, Bleasdale, now playing at full back, made one of his marauding runs and took play deep into opposition territory before setting up Bolton to score in the left corner.
He followed this up soon after with a second, and by this time Clitheroe were well on top.
However, Colne had one last burst up field and only stout defence kept their score at seven points. Finally, Sharples finished the game off with an excellent break and well-deserved try to push the final score to 34-7.
This Saturday sees Preston Grasshoppers sixths travel to Littlemoor.
FINAL SCORE: Colne & Nelson 2nds 7, Clitheroe 2nds 34