CLITHEROE made the trip to the panoramic pitches of Littleborough looking to turn their recent blip in form back into a positive and march back up the league.
The game started well for the travelling team, with the returning Graves taking a quick tap penalty to score near the posts, and after dominating the opening 10 minutes, Clitheroe took a 5-0 lead.
Littleborough were in disarray and Clitheroe were rampant – although final passes would just not go to hand to enable them to capitalise on their possession and territory.
Waddington at 10 led the backline into battle with charging runs up the pitch, while Andrew Thornber was doing similar up front in the forwards, ably supported by Chamberlain, Ralph Rigby and Cowgill.
As the half progressed, Littleborough weathered the storm and began to get into the game, while Clitheroe began to get frustrated with the lack of points for their hard work.
As the Maroon and Gold pressed forward, the ball spilt into Littleborough hands and they did not need a second invitation to capitalise while Clitheroe were in an attack formation – pounding up the pitch through their swift running backline to score a converted try.
Littleborough now had their confidence up and began to play some rugby, however they too were suffering with the final pass going to hand, and both teams were a little frustrated as the half time whistle went.
In the second half, Clitheroe again sought to take a grip of the game through the forwards, who began to get into their dominating ways again.
The forwards crashed up the pitch in the tight again with Chamberlain leading the way with some good yards, Mick Thornber and Jim Smith also putting power onto the forward ball.
However, Littleborough were quick to feed on the scraps left by Clitheroe as they scooped up a loose ball and cantered down the hill towards the try line before Waddington who put in a try-saving tackle to haul down the centre.
However, with Clitheroe looking scattered across the pitch, Littleborough took advantage and scored out wide from the recycled ball.
Playing uphill with the wind in their faces, it appeared to by Littleborough’s game to win. However, Clitheroe began to take the ball on up front. The half back paring of Smith and Peel were looking dangerous. and flanker Cowgill looked to be enjoying his cameo in the centres.
Again and again Clitheroe worked their way up the pitch as Littleborough had to clear their lines with the high kick, and Penny grasped a loose ball and scampered over for the score, which Peel converted to draw level at 12-12, with 10 minutes remaining.
Clitheroe’s backs and forwards combined to have some cracking runs as the clock ticked by, and Littleborough tried to relieve the pressure with a high kick which was gathered by Waddington, who charged up the pitch right back to his forwards, who recycled the ball to the waiting Maroon and Gold battalions.
With two minutes to go, Clitheroe pounded the Littleborough line and swung the ball wide but could not quite make it through the Littleborough defence.
Unfortunately, an intercepted pass asaw Littleborough run the length of the pitch to move into a 19-12 lead and win the game in the dying seconds.
Clitheroe’s man of the match was Adam Penny.
On Saturday Clitheroe welcome Ashton–on–Mersey to Littlemoor and the seconds entertain Garstang.
On Saturday, the seconds lost 69-10 at home to Chorley seconds.
At half-time the hosts were two tries in arrears, and Chorley turned on the style after the turnaround and put Pundy’s men to the sword with their fast running rugby.
Clitheroe scored two first half tries, the first a sublime arcing run from scrum half Wood, and the second from Williamson after a great forwards rolling maul.
Notable performances came from Joe Newton on the open side and centre Dave Fairhurst.