THE final league match of the season for Clitheroe’s first XV ended in defeat at Littlemoor on Saturday.
Bold running is typical of Newton-le-Willows, and they duly turned up with their A game, with the Clitheroe defence looking uneasy early on against the rapid running lines the backs took.
Two scores in the first 15 minutes and Newton-le-Willows were looking comfortable, however, the Maroon and Gold men responded, and a series of driving runs from Lafranceschina at full back and both centres Peel and Railton got the home team within sight of the line.
An indiscretion at the breakdown gave the penalty and Clitheroe were on the scoreboard. Further pressure, this time from the forwards saw Clitheroe march into enemy territory, the burly trio of Jim Smith, Graves and Atkinson making some hard yards to put the visitors on the back foot and give Clitheroe a good attacking position.
The visitors’ patience withered at the ruck and they dived in at the side on the 10 metre line. Petulance after the penalty was awarded was not to the referee’s liking and they were marched back a further 10 metres, which put the kick in range of Lafranceschina, who duly slotted the points.
Clitheroe were now looking more confident and as they began to get on top, Newton-le-Willows began to lose their concentratiom.
Again, Clitheroe pressed into their opponents’ half and again, as Clitheroe went into the danger zone, Newton transgressed at the breakdown, and Lafranceschina again slotted the kick for a 12-10 lead at half-time.
The opening exchanges of the first half mimicked the first half as Clitheroe had to defend a barrage of attacks.
From the restart, wing Shread caught and barrelled up the pitch, but that was the home team’s only bright point in the opening 10 minutes as Newton went on the attack, resulting in three quick tries, one converted, tfor a healthy lead of 27-12.
With a full bench, it was time to ring the changes, and with one Newton-le-Willows player in the sin bin already, an already feisty game was really beginning to bubble over. Soon after a further player from each team was sent from the pitch. The niggling nature of the game spoilt the natural flow for Clitheroe and as Newton held the advantage points wise.
Some notable efforts to get into a scoring position from the Maroon and Gold included typically sniping runs from Smith, Lafranceschina darting into the back line at pace from full back, and Atkinson driving up the pitch like the proverbial raging bull. However, it was all to no avail.
The annual end of season challenge awaits the first XV, namely the select President’s XV on May 12th.
FINAL SCORE: Clitheroe 12, Newton-le-Willows 27