A FULL-ON game of physical rugby was anticipated at Littlemoor as Clitheroe entertained Fleetwood, and this encounter did not disappoint.
Fleetwood opened the scoring after a very even opening quarter with an unconverted try. and they followed up with a second try to take a sudden 10-0 lead after 20 minutes.
While this was disappointing for the home team, they had played some good rugby and were not about to bow under the pressure.
In the forwards, locks Dowson and Mick Thornber produced some big drives up the park into the face of the opposition, and in the back line, stand-in stand-off Waddington stepped up to the mark, with scrum half Smith proving to be a forward force in attack and dynamic in defence.
Centres Railton and Ben Rigby showed fleet of foot in attack as Clitheroe looked to finish the half with something to show for their blood sweat and tears.
A transgression at the ruck by the Fleetwood forwards gave a penalty opportunity which Waddington took to claw three points back, and just before half-time, Andrew Thornber drove the ball in with his cohort Jim Smith, the ball was eventually spun out to Waddington, and he took the ball right up to the line before the forwards recycled the ball again, and Smith skimmed the ball out to Railton, who weaved in for a score.
Waddington converted and the half-time whistle went with the scores level.
The second half started with Fleetwood’s slick backline putting a try past Clitheroe, but the Maroon and Gold replied 10 minutes later with a cracking try, started by Aaron Atkinson charging up the pitch.
The back line slotted the ball forward again as Waddington and Smith made good yards and the forwards responded with Ed Thornber working hard to get the ball back on the Clitheroe side.
As the ball was charged up the pitch in a series of pick and drives, the Fleetwood defence were on the back foot and Smith darted in for the score.
Basquill stepped in for the conversion and the scores were even again with 20 minutes to play.
Fleetwood scored again through the back line and Clitheroe immediately responded with some great running rugby.
But Clitheroe had given their all and let Fleetwood in for three cheap tries in the last 10 minutes to record a deserved victory, although the score line didn’t reflect the performance of the Maroon and Gold.
Man of the Match was Chris Waddington.
Today Clitheroe are at Littleborough.