Clitheroe RUFC 5-35 Eagle

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Clitheroe entertained a buoyant Eagle, at Littlemoor, who were fresh from putting 50 points past league leaders Manchester Medics.

And the visitors started very strongly and opened with an early score under the posts as Clitheroe put pressure on themselves within their own 22 metre area.

They hit, quite literally, with another score just when the Maroon and Gold were powering into their opponents’ half.

Some good forward play, notably charging runs from Graves, Hough and Chamberlain, gave a great attacking opportunity to the back line.

Never one to want a second invitation, Chris Waddington sliced up the pitch at pace and entered the attack zone, only to be met with a savage high tackle which left him seeing stars and needing to take 50 minutes off the pitch to recover.

He was replaced by the dynamic, diminutive Arron Dixon. From the loose ball Eagle ran up the pitch to score from a full 80 yards out, whilst the tackle had many in Maroon and Gold incensed, the referee waved play on and the try stood, giving the home team a 14-point mountain to climb within 15 minutes.

Clitheroe, now fired up by the intensity and physicality of the contest bought themselves to life and applied good pressure into the Eagle half – dashing runs from Peel, Railton and Waterworth particularly gaining good ground, while up front Rigby, Holmes and Jim Smith added plenty of weight to the forward drive. However, it was Eagle who scored next with another converted try and by half-time they had secured a 21-point lead.

The half-time huddle was still positive as Clitheroe had ended the first half on top and in control winning plenty of ball, but yet just a pass or a step away from scoring.

Therefore, when the second half started they pressed deep into the Eagle territory and the fiery nature of the match continued with further warnings for Eagle to play the game and Clitheroe not to react. With the resulting penalty Eagle cleared their lines deep into the Clitheroe half, but Fitzhenry at full back decided that attack was the best form of defence and smashed through several tackles to get back into the Eagle half.

Backed up by the forwards the ball came back on the Clitheroe side and Edmondson crashed the ball into the defensive line.

Slick hands by scrumhalf Dan Smith saw the pivotal Watson deliver a beautiful pass to Peel at inside centre who jinked his way right into the Eagle 22 metre area.

Ruck ball again was provided courtesy of the back row and Dowson, who was now on for Smith, charged into the Eagle defence like a man possessed, falling just short of the Eagle line. Ball again came back into Clitheroe hands and the bulky Graves powered over to score to claw the score to 21-5.

Next Penny had joined the fray at hooker in replacement for Holmes and Smith had returned to the pitch to cover for the injured Graves at prop.

Clitheroe pressed for much of the remainder of the second half, but with no numerical success, whereas Eagle counterattacked slickly though their sharp thinking scrum half and rapid, powerful backline and gained two further converted tries for their efforts to give a final score line of 35-5, which although flattering the visitors considering the massive effort by the Maroon and Gold men, was a deserved victory.

Although dominant throughout good periods of the game and some flashes of good rugby, Clitheroe seemed to struggle to play the situation in a game which could have been all the better for stronger marshalling.