In the last league game of the season for the seconds, and indeed for the club, Clitheroe made the trip over to Bolton to play their fourth team.
Bolton started strongly and within five minutes were a try up. Clitheroe hit back hard, and despite a missed penalty, took the initiative all over the field.
The pressure told and scrum half Watson ran a lovely blind side arc from a rolling maul that he had marshalled upfield himself. He showed a great turn of pace and cantered over the line. Railton added the extras and the visitors deservedly took the lead.
Railton was also performing well in open play, first making a good break up the middle after full back Clemmey showed how elusive he can be with a 50 yard kick return, then a few minutes after linking well with number eight Ross to score out on the right to extend Clitheroe’s lead to 14-5. However, the lead didn’t last long as Bolton’s best attacking back evaded a number of desparing tackles to run over 60 yards to score. The half-time whistle blew with Clitheroe 14-10 to the good.
During half-time, the team realised the importance of ball retention as Bolton had been relatively successful in starving Clitheroe of possession. And Clitheroe started the second half with a great deal of verve. Firstly, Ross banged through some defenders, then the ball was moved quickly left for the backs to weave their magic. Fairhurst was stopped just short of the line, but with the forwards there quickly in support, the ball was quickly recycled and spun out to replacement flyhalf Peel, who popped a lovely inside pass to the supporting Wilkinson, who found a huge hole and fell over the line to take the score to 21-10.
Bolton responded immediately when their winger found room on the right to outpace the Clitheroe defence. Although it was a rather dubious touchdown, the try was given and Bolton were back to within four points.
The see-saw type game continued when Bleasdale made a good run down the left before feeding Peel to score Clitheroe’s fourth try. Then Bolton responded with another try to move back with six points, but Clitheroe held on despite the extensive pressure to take the deserved win.
Railton was pushed for the man of the match accolade by Ross.
Clitheroe finished 13th, defilower than expected but with a large number of players blooded throughout the season and a number of younger players coming into the club of late, the future looks bright.
Speaking of the immediate future, Saturday sees the annual President’s challenge match against a Chairman’s XV, kick-off 3 p.m.
Added to this, there is an inaugural Clitheroe Vets game against Kirby Lonsdale, kick off noon. See www.clitheroerugby.com for details.