A promising second half wasn’t enough as Clitheroe seconds were beaten 41-29 at Litlemoor by Hawcoat Park under perfect conditions, thanks to head groundsman Phil Isherwood.
A sluggish start left the locals with a mountain to climb. But with a massive amount of grit and steel, the forwards took the game to the opposition and nearly ground out a win, with a 60 metre driving maul from a lineout, resulting in a try, a highlight.
Clitheroe welcomed back Mitchell Jones, with Steve Korney and Richard Murray also on the bench. Kirk Kenyon and Dan Jones solidified their second row partnership, which seems to be a great pairing. Jamie Taylor slipped in at blindside, another new position to try.
The away side started the stronger, and a turnover in possession saw them score with less than five minutes on the clock. The conversion was made.
From the restart, whether because of over commitment at the breakdown, Clitheroe found themselves overlapped and Hawcoat Park scored again, missing the conversion.
Using the line outs and scrums to their advantage, Clitheroe upped their game.
From a fantastic line out from Andrew Thornber at hooker, and Danny Cowgill in the line, a quick set and drive was applied, and Struan Robinson, playing scrum half, managed to find a pass to Jones, who offloaded to Miles Sharples, who weaved his way through to score. The conversion was missed.
The away side quickly rallied, scoring two more tries of their own, taking advantage of poor breakdowns from Clitheroe ,and shipping the balls out to their pacy wingers. Making only one of the conversions, Hawcoat Park went in at half-time leading 24-5.
After some stern words, Clitheroe had a mountain to climb.
Veteran Andrew Thornber managed to score a second half hat-trick, due to hard work from everyone on the team, with blistering charges being made from Kirk Kenyon, Pete Farnsworth and Taylor, and runs from the ever energetic Sharples changed the dynamic of the game. One of the conversions was made.
Hawcoat Park, however, were not finished, and managed another three second half tries, shipping out wide to their wingers, who took advantage of the Clitheroe defensive line. Only one of the conversions was made.
Clitheroe had been the stronger team physically in the second half, and still had something left to show.
A line out allowed Taylor to peel off the back of a maul before weaving past three defenders and eventually off loading to Farnsworth, who got over the line for the final score of the game, with the conversion kicked.
It was a promising second half display from the team, who now look forward to another home fixture on Saturday, this time against Leigh thirds, in what will be an absorbing encounter as Clitheroe fight to retain their place in League 4 North.