Clitheroe win gripping encounter against Preston Grasshoppers

Clitheroe RUFC first XV
Clitheroe RUFC first XV

In a gripping and tense encounter, Clitheroe extended their undefeated home record, which has stoodf since the end of April 2015.

Any game against the might and the resources of Preston Grasshoppers is going to be a tough one. This game proved no exception.

The game was the toughest that Clitheroe had faced this term; the battered and tired bodies proved testament of their commitment.

Clitheroe were largely unchanged but were able to bring Harry Bailey back into the pack.

Clitheroe started with a bang when captain Richard Few scuttled through after only seven minutes.

He was soon followed by centre James Dickenson who scored wide on the right after a tremendous build up.

Hoppers then struck back hard with two converted tries to retake the lead.

Not to be outdone, the skipper again showed a clean pair of heels for his second try. Dickinson converted to restablish the lead, before Few grabbed his well-deserved hat-trick try.

But the visitors began to knuckle down and scored twice in rapid succession prior to the interval to give them a two-point advantage.

After a quietish first half, full back Martin Lafranceschina powered over, and once again Clitheroe had their noses in front.

The full back was on the scoresheet again, bundling over under the posts, Dickinson on hand with the extras.

Hoppers brought all their experience to bear and began to turn the screw.

A try conceded from a close quarter drive closed the gap. The extras even more.

Clitheroe weren’t done, and a rare break out saw Hoppers transgress; a gift penalty kick for Dickinson.

The Preston pack threw the kitchen sink at Clitheroe. Eventually the line was breached and the visitors were over for the try.

The conversion slid wide, but there was still time for the men from Lightfoot Green to launch a last raid on the line.

A penalty to Hoppers within kicking range was inexplicably spurned in favour of a scrum and Clitheroe scrambled clear.

Never has the sound of the referee’s whistle been so welcome as he blew for time.

Clitheroe’s second team lost 44-34 in Barrow-in-Furness against Hawcoat Park.

Stuart Railton and Will Spenceley-Jones scored in the first half as the arrons trailed 27-12 at half-time.

In the second half, tries from Austin Wensley, Andrew Thornber and Andrew “Ralph” Rigby pulled the score back to 34-29, and though Rigby scored again, but Hawcoat Park held on.