WITH an injury list as long as the proverbial arm, Clitheroe had to renege on the seconds’ fixture at Burnley and put together a compact squad to travel to play Crosby St Marys.
Giz Williams made his first XV debut in the second row, as did Mark Fisher at outside centre - both played hard, tight rugby and were both key players as the game progressed.
Opening exchanges were virtually all Clitheroe as the fired up team foraged in the Crosby half – however, they failed to convert the pressure into points.
Still with Clitheroe in the ascendancy, Crosby scored first after a mix up in defence which left them a converted try ahead.
Clitheroe battled well into the final 10 minutes of the first half, both teams opting to kick at goal with penalties, but with the cross wind both were pushed wide.
The heat of the battle was beginning to tell and the encounter was becoming more and more feisty. Clitheroe finished the half with only 14 men as lock Farnsworth was penalised for loose, if not malicious, feet in the ruck. However, his teammates battled well to finish the half seven points down.
At half time, Farnsworth made way for another debutant Lewis Williams, who slotted into the second row alongside his father. With the lineout functioning well, and much catch and drive ball being speared into the Crosby half the Maroon and Gold started in the ascendancy.
Good pressure refused to give way to points and perhaps the Clitheroe men were unlucky not to have more penalties awarded as the Crosby defenders were right on the edge of the ruck laws at times, when Maroon and Gold shirts went for the final push in the 22 metre area. Clitheroe played to their strengths, using the hulking frame of Lewis Williams to provide driving balls
Crosby scored next with a try which seemed to be borne from confusion as the touch judge’s flag first went up then down again rapidly, and as Crosby played on they scored in the corner for a 12-0 lead.
With 20 minutes left, the Crosby saw red next with a cynical punch to Fitzhenry seeing the home pack reduced to seven, and Fitzhenry himself slotted the penalty.
Crosby scored another try to take their tally to 19, while Clitheroe rallied valiantly to chase the game into the final few minutes. Lewis Williams leading the charge.
Eventually it was from the set piece which Clitheroe scored, as set scrum move saw Ralph Rigby pop the ball to Peel at scrum half, who committed the defender and threw a well-timed pass to wing man Gretton, who scored in the corner.
Again Clitheroe rallied, but the home team who ran out winners.
On Saturday, the locals have a cup match away to Newton le Willows.
FINAL SCORE: Crosby St Mary’s 19, Clitheroe 8