Clitheroe Rugby wrapped up their tremendous season on Saturday with the traditional President’s Match – the culmination of an epic fortnight in the lives of many of the players.
The previous Saturday, the final of the Raging Bull Bowl, Clitheroe RUFC’s first-ever final, was held at a baking hot Rossendale RFC. The opponents were Liverpool University Vets RFC.
Clitheroe took a bus-load of supporters and many turned up under their own steam to give the day a party atmosphere.
And the team were certainly buoyed and humbled by the sight of so many family and friends swelling the touchline.
Up the notorious Rossendale slope in the first half, and into a stiff breeze, the game was a cagey affair, with both sides nervous and not wanting to be the first to make a mistake.
Unfortunately, the Maroons blinked first.
A loose pass in midfield was pounced on and the Vets were over for the opening score, conversion missed.
So just 5-0, and with the slope now in their favour Clitheroe felt confident at the break.
Again the half took time to catch fire, but the Vets seemed to gain the upper hand.
Their all-action game and their speed at the breakdown was causing the Littlemoor men trouble.
Although the game was very tight and the skill levels of both teams fairly even throughout, the Vets’ advantage of youth and extra fitness was paying dividends.
The Vets scored two quick tries, but Clitheroe came roaring back and laid siege to the Vets’ try line, and after a protracted series of attacks, back row man James Haynes crashed over for the score.
Marco Vaghetti converted to lift the sideline spirits.
The Vets applied the coup de grace with another late try to wrap it up 22-7, for a crestfallen team.
The squad cannot be faulted one iota for attitude, commitment to the jersey and they are a credit to the town.
Many of the squad were back in action or the President’s fixture.
The long-running finale to the season didn’t disappoint.
In glorious sunshine, Clitheroe XV drew 29-29 with the President’s XV, in a great game watched by a healthy appreciative crowd.
Respective man of the match awards went to Will Dickenson and Andrew Rigby.
That wound up an epic season for the club.
Both teams finished unbeaten at Littlemoor, with the second XV promoted.
The first XV reached a cup final, plus there was the formation of a ladies’ XV, and a booming, successful junior rugby section.