Clitheroe’s opening fixture of this season’s league campaign produced several positives, even in defeat.
In came Tom Hardman and Pete Farnsworth into the pack and veteran Simon Gretton onto the wing.
In for his first XV debut was wing man Mike McBurney and returning to the maroon and gold colours after a long absence was prop Will Jones.
Stand in stand off Darren Eagle shimmied his way over after five minutes to open Clitheroe’s account. Greg Birch was on hand with the extras.
The lead was short lived, as the home scrum half sent the winger scooting over for a well-worked try. The conversion levelled the scores.
Clitheroe attacked again and forced a scrum in the Eagle 22. Clitheroe scrum half, captain Nathan Peel burrowed over to regain the lead.
With half-time approaching an Eagle attack was launched down the left, the cover was across to snuff it out but in the scramble a penalty was conceded. The Eagle scrum half was on it – a tap to himself and he was over for an easy score to level the scores.
Within two minutes of the restart, the hosts had scored another try. A careless yellow card put Clitheroe down to 14 men, but the referee put an Eagle player in the bin also shortly afterwards.
Eagle then scored two more tries in quick succession. But the Littlemoor men responded by playing some of their best rugby of the game, with some exhilarating running from deep, coupled with top drawer support play between forwards and backs.
Chris Waddington was on the end of a handsome move that brought Clitheroe’s third try. Starting from the half way line the ball passed through half a dozen pair of hands before the final touch down.
Eagle nabbed another for themselves, but in the dying embers of the game Clitheroe were still attacking.
Another raid on the Eagle line saw the ball spill free and dribble over the line, as everyone paused waiting for the referees whistle that never came, Andrew Rigby pounced to claim a rare try. Birch was on hand again with the extras at the final whistle.
Clitheroe seconds began their league season with a resounding 83-3victory against Preston Grasshoppers strollers.