Bonus point victory for Clitheroe over Merseysiders

Joe Smith
Joe Smith
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Clitheroe’s rugby men did the double, and earned themselves a well-deserved bonus point in the process, over a hard-working Crosby St Mary’s on Saturday.

Crosby have transferred their operations just a quarter of a mile from their old ground as the crow flies. But this didn’t fail to confuse most of the squad.

However, when everyone turned up they were well pleased to be playing away.

The lovely firm grassed playing surface was a treat for the feet; and although the pitch was a bit narrow, it certainly suited Clitheroe’s all-action game plan.

The Maroons notched up four well-worked tries, bookended by a brace from hirsute wing man Joe Smith.

The front row problems continue at Littlemoor. With Tom Hardman still injured, veteran John Procter on the sick list and Ben Graves on honeymoon, resources were thin.

Fortunately, utility forward Ross Chamberlain manfully stepped into the breech at tight head.

In the home fixture earlier in the season, Clitheroe had been comfortable victors, but they had seen enough of Crosby’s potential to be on their guard.

The visitors started brightly, keeping the ball in hand well, and soon Joe Smith was causing problems probing down the right wing. It was no surprise after some neat inter passing he was over the whitewash to open Clitheroe’s account. Captain Nathan Peel was on hand with the extras.

It took some time for the next try to arrive, but in the mean time Peel slotted over a couple more penalties.

The home side that scored the next try after Clitheroe were guilty of a series of schoolboy errors at the breakdown.

As the half drew to a close Clitheroe camped in the home 22, and after squandering a few chances ,managed to bundle number eight James Haynes over for a try. Peel again slotting the conversion.

Without really hitting top gear, Clitheroe were 20-5 up at the turn round and there was a feeling that there was much more to come.

They fulfilled that promise to a certain extent during the second half.

Peel again kicked things off with another perfect penalty. But the game then deteriorated into a scrappy affair.

In the strong gusty conditions the lineout, usually a profitable source of ball, was a lottery and at the set scrums Clitheroe were hampered by an enthusiastic but scratch front five who found it hard to gel as a unit.

In open play, Clitheroe were in good form. Debutant Nat Dickenson at flanker had a fine game alongside Andrew Rigby.

Lewis Hardman also showed up well in the second row along side Jake Procter.

The back line was slightly re-jigged from the previous week, with Marco Vaghetti taking on outside half duties and Peel swapping with him to inside centre.

It took to the hour mark before Clitheroe crossed again; full back Greg Birch came looking for work into the line and some neat handling saw him over in the corner.

Then as the clock began to wind down, Crosby launched one last foray into the Clitheroe half. But gleefully for the visitors and interception by Vaghetti inside his own 22 saw him scuttling off up the pitch with a long way to go. He was relieved to find Smith on his elbow to take the ball on and round off the scoring in some style.