Eagle RUFC 20, Clitheroe RUFC 7

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CLITHEROE headed to Warrington with a strong squad, and, feeling confident and after some recent good performances, were looking for a win.

After many a week of getting bogged down in the mud, Clitheroe had the pleasure of a flat, wide, dry pitch.

Backs and forwards combined to place their hosts under pressure, with their only response to that pressure being the chip over clearing kick. Full back Fitzhenry returned these with interest, charging back into the Eagle half, ably supported by wingers Beery and Waterworth, who stretched the defence with their pace.

Up front, Rigby, Hough, Graves and Atkinson made a nuisance of themselves in the ruck and run game Clitheroe had gone to war with. With Clitheroe clearly in the ascendancy, it was only a matter of time before a scoring opportunity came their way, and Eagle conceded a penalty, but the conversion attempt just sailed wide of the posts.

Eagle restarted from the 22 metre line, and again Fitzhenry charged the ball back up the pitch, and the recycling back row trio ensured the ball came back on the attack side. Prop forward Atkinson rampaged up the pitch and gained great yards, Edmondson in support provided the secure bridge for Dan Smith to slip it out to Watson at stand-off, who delivered a perfect pass to the hard-running Chris Waddington (pictured) at centre. He crashed through three would-be tacklers to score near the posts.

They did not let up and again attacked the Eagle half with a series of hard runs – Peel looking sharp in the backline and Atkinson proving a real handful. However, it was Eagle who scored next, a raking kick from a penalty gave them a good attacking lineout, and the Clitheroe forwards were caught flat-footed in defence as Eagle scored in the corner, though the conversion was missed. Eagle had weathered the Clitheroe storm, and a kickable penalty was conceded by the Clitheroe forwards and Eagle took it well to move into an 8-7 lead at half-time.

In the second half, Clitheroe looked to run the ball and at times really threatened the Eagle line. Notable pressure at scrum time from the wily trio of flankers Rigby and Chamberlain and scrum half Smith gave them opportunities to attack, but to no reward. By this time Penny had been replaced by Holmes at hooker and a prop swap of Graves for Smith had also taken place. In the back line Keogh had come on at full back and bullocked his way up the pitch, returning the ball with interest as Eagle teased kicks over the Clitheroe backline.

As the game progressed Eagle ran more and more ball in the typical style of a rugby union team deep in a rugby league area, and from this they gained just reward, scoring two tries and converting one to run out winners.

Clitheroe can rue missed chances, and will no doubt look forward to the return at Littlemoor. On Saturday Clitheroe entertain Chorley at Littlemoor.

Garstang 2nds/3rds 29, Clitheroe 2nds 12

With a blank weekend as far as league rugby was concerned, Clitheroe seconds took on the difficult task of playing a team somewhat higher in the leagues in a one-off friendly game.

Garstang 2nds operate in League 3N, a couple of leagues above, but with some older third teamers and a couple of youngster, it looked like it was going to be a good game.

Right from the off Clitheroe burst out of the blocks to take control. Downson, Thornber and Carlton were busting through tackles while centre Hacking continually made the shortest dash towards the tryline, bulldozing anything in his way. Despite the dynamism of attack and excellent ball retention, Clitheroe were unable to find a way through the sound home defence, and it was Garstang who broke the deadlock. To disappoint Clitheroe further, the visitors spurned a couple of good penalty attempts that would have taken them into a deserved half-time lead. Instead they found themselves 5-0 down.

Skipper Thornber rallied his troops to no avail when Clitheroe gave away two relatively soft tries within five minutes of the turnaround. Luckily, the beast awoke and following excellent support play, Luke Procter squeezed over. Garstang were looking rattled, and following a superb pushover try by the Clitheroe pack, finished off by Farnsworth, Clitheroe were back in it with 10 to play. Unfortunately it simply wasn’t enough and Garstang finished off the game with a good try.

Overall it was a better than satisfactory display by the visiting team and Clitheroe will take plenty out of a game where they really performed well as a team for extended periods.

Player of the game was split between full back Stott, second row Dowson and scrum half Wood.

This performance augurs well for Saturday’s visit to Colne and Nelson.

• After a two month lay-off from competitive rugby due to bad weather, Clitheroe minis entertained Garstang on Sunday in damp and muddy conditions.

Clitheroe quickly raised the gloom in front of a good crowd and made a strong start, delivering on the direct running and quick passing game they have worked on in training. Garstang struck back in the latter stages, and amazingly the game finished 12 tries all in a match played with excellent sportsmanship.

The main purpose of rugby for the younger age groups is to develop passing, catching, running and evasion skills, along with game awareness, and Clitheroe showed their development against a side with strong runners and well-developed support play in midfield.

Clitheroe minis have more games lined up for the spring and if you and your kids are interested in coming along, training is on Sunday mornings from 10-15 to 11-30 a.m. at Littlemoor. For further details contact bobjwilkinson@clitheroerugby.com or call Bob on 07962 099935.

A ring rusty Under 12s team took the field to face what seemed to be a well-organised and well-trained Garstang squad on Sunday morning.

Garstang applied early pressure to the Buccaneers’ line, pushing them back and threatening the try line. However, the quality of the play in the breakdown showed well disciplined rucking, eventually releasing the ball to allow the backs into the game. A series of robust sequences released Jake Sager to touch down what became the first of several tries. The Buccaneers took the initiative, with some spirited effort from the forwards stamping control on the game, the quality of the rucks and the their ability to control the game from the breakdown released Joseph Kenny then Jack Stanley to bag a couple more scores.

Garstang started the second half with renewed purpose and ran their first try, but their Garstangs hopes were soon dashed when Jack Crocker and Jack Barker ran in a couple of quick scores, finally finishing the game running out 8-1 winners.

Man of the match was Joseph Kenny.