Clitheroe secured a place in the finals of the Raging Bull Bowl by the slimmest of margins at Old Bedians RFC last Saturday.
In a game fit for the final itself both teams produced a tremendous effort with powerful attack and obdurate defence.
The Maroons couldn’t have got off to a worse start, conceding a converted try within three minutes.
A penalty via the boot of Marco Vaghetti steadied the nerves slightly. But Bedians , after a series of close range attacks, bundled over for another try to make it 12-3.
Eventually the town team began to exert some pressure.
Bedians had a man in the sin bin, and after a few waves of big lads crashing forward, enough of an overlap was created for outside centre Joe Weld-Blundell to squeeze in over the whitewash. Vaghetti on hand with the extras and Clitheroe were right back in it at 12-10.
Bedians upped their game once more and scored two more tries before the interval, though after each try Clitheroe managed to scramble back for a penalty of their own – two for Vaghetti again – and the Maroons were 17-16 behind at the break.
The second half started quietly, before a loose pass was scooped up by Weld -Blundell, who broke clear 60 metres from the try line, but with the cover rapidly closing, he just made the line, conversion over and Clitheroe took the lead 23-17.
The home side refused to lie down and Bedians were camped within 15 metres of the line, while Clitheroe tackled like demons.
The Maroons had two players given the yellow card in short succession, and, down to 13 men it was all or nothing for the last few minutes.
Eventually as the dam was breached and Bedians scored just to the right of the posts.
The team could only watch as Bedians kicker lined up the conversion, but the kick drifted just by the left upright as the final whistle went, and Clitheroe went through to the finals on May 7th.
This weekend, it’s back to league business at home to Rochdale, kick-off 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, table-topping Clitheroe seconds beat form side Orrell St James 19-14.
Following a scrum in the Clitheroe half, the visitors’ inside centre scored under the posts following a nice step to wrong foot the defence. The extras were added, and the visitors scored next with a well-worked try, creating an overlap and they touched down under the posts and added the conversion to make it 14-0 at half-time.
In the second half, Clitheroe were awarded a penalty try which was converted, with the extras added, before a good passing move between the backs saw Birch touch down, conversion missed.
Following a red card to one of the visitors, Railton stepped through the defence to score a superb try under the posts, which was converted, and the hosts claimed a deserved victory, ahead of another home clash with Fylde.