CLITHEROE seconds travelled to Tyldesley needing to notch their first win since mid-January.
Tyldesley is never an easy place to go, but with the return of some new and old faces, Clitheroe were confident of doing the double, having beaten their opponents 69-18 at Littlemoor at the start of the season.
Debutants Tom and Lewis Hardman started their Clitheroe careers in fine style, while the return of captain Thornber, Dowson, Smith and fly half Watson brought some much-needed guile back to the Clitheroe attack.
After a slow start, Clitheroe began to take control and at the five-minute mark, Farnsworth ran strong and direc,t tearing a large hole in the home defence, and winger Ivan Adams was unlucky to knock on with the line at his mercy.
Not long after, an excellent counter from full back Bleasdale down the right gained crucial territory.
He offloaded well to Birch, who evaded at least four tacklers before passing to Spencer to score a great backs’ try.
This was quickly followed by the best try of the game.
Thornber Junior galloped downfield and found the ever-present John Procter.
Procter gave the ball quickly and got it back after expertly looping around, before passing quickly through the hands of Watson to get the ball to winger Adams.
This time he made no mistake and rounded his opposite number with aplomb.
Scrum half Brown slotted the extras from the touchline with his fine leg peg.
Tyldesley tried valiantly to get back into the game, but after gamely taking back some territory, Bleasdale and Birch once again showed their pace on the right wing.
Farnsworth did what he does best, straightening up in midfield. This created the space for Thornber to run into, and after delaying the initial pass, he passed left to Spencer, who delivered a great pass to Adams to dot down for his second.
So with Clitheroe 17-0 up with 25 minutes gone, Tyldesley once again started to exert some pressure on the Clitheroe line, but the visitors repelled them well before commencing a two-try spell in the 10 minutes prior to half-time, albeit with a home team try in the middle.
First, Sharples showed brilliant footwork by evading a tired-looking defence to touch down under the posts. Brown added the simple conversion.
A quick restart saw Tyldesley pound the Clitheroe line, and the pressure eventually told with a good maul creating the platform for a good team try.
However, Clitheroe has the final score of the half when a Tyldesley knock on around halfway saw fly half Watson scoop up the loose ball. Unswervingly the team pivot, Watson pinged the ball to Sharples, who drew his man beautifully before giving the ball to Thornber.
Thornber eventually went to the floor but found Brown then Procter in support, who nonchalantly placed the ball down to score a brilliant team try.
This was Clitheroe back to playing the way they had when scoring at will before Christmas and it was great to see.
Captain Thornber exhorted his players to continue in the same vein in the second half, and despite some stubborn Tyldesley defence, Clitheroe scored two more tries through winger Birch, now playing at inside centre, in what was a very short secdon half.
It’s difficult to single out individuals in what was an excellent team performance, however, Adams was good value for his brace and Procter, despite entering his 51st year, gave a fantastic all-round performance.
On Saturday, both teams are away.
The firsts play Newton-le-Willows, while the seconds travel to neighbours Burnley.
Remember that the British and Irish Lions play in Australia in June and Clitheroe Rugby Club will be showing each game, as well as putting on various rugby themed events over the summer. Contact the club on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.