An agonising end to this hard fought game at Newton le Willows was scant reward for Clitheroe’s senior XV.
Into the final minute with the scores tied at 12-12, it seemed that a respectable draw was on the cards.
But a final kick and rush from the home side saw them scramble over, under the posts, to drive a dagger through Clitheroe’s aspiration of a rare away win.
It had all started so brightly for the town team.
In their penultimate game of the season Clitheroe were in no mood to go out with a whimper.
However, the home team had other ideas, and within the first five minutes they were over the line.
But after weathering this early onslaught and only conceding the solitary try, the Littlemoor men were soon on the charge. After a preliminary rumble up the centre of the field by the forwards, the ball was eventually spun out to the left wing.
Out there was the lurking Lewis Hardman; he got the ball about 30 yards out, but still had plenty to do. A burst of pace beat his man and a nice swerve inside the cover defence saw him over to open Clitheroe’s account.
Lewis, along with brother Tom who was playing prop, are typical of the new faces Clitheroe have attracted to the club recently. Both in their first full season, these lads, along with a few likeminded others, are looking good for the future.
Clitheroe now had the bit between their teeth and were pressurising the Newton defence into mistakes.
Scrum half Dan Smith combined well with Darren Eagle of the back of the scrum, but the final pop up pass went astray.
Not to be outdone, centre Chris Waddington’s tremendous angled burst put him behind the first up defence, and with back rower Luke Hayton supporting well, the ball was fed out for Dan Smith to score under the posts. Skipper Nathan Peel converted to put Clitheroe 12-7 up at the interval.
It was felt that Clitheroe really needed to score next to put the game to bed. But Newton drew level within 15 minutes.
Now the tension was rising, with neither team willing to give ground or make a mistake. Both defences were working overtime and nearly tackled themselves into the ground.
Then with the clock wound down to 79 minutes, Newton applied the coup de grace with their final roll of the dice.
Heartbreak for Clitheroe, after such a monumental display, but fair play to Newton who played right up to the final whistle.