Mossley Hill RUFC 26, Clitheroe RUFC 0

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Clitheroe dropped out of the Lancashire Plate Competion at the very first hurdle at Liverpool side Mossley Hill.

Shorn of many of last season’s regulars, still holidaying, club captain Oliver MacEntyre was forced to spread his net wide to pull a team together for this early season fixture.

Starting with a bare 15 and no real recognised scrum half meant the day was going to be a long one, especially as the hosts had a full bench and made the most of it.

Starting cautiously, Clitheroe probed for gaps, using their big forwards to some effect, but the home defence was comfortably up to the task.

With the uncertainness at scrum half and with the pack under some pressure, Clitheroe found it difficult to get their kicking game going at all, leaving them little option than to launch attacks from behind the gain line, which often came to nought.

it wasn’t for the want of trying, but every move Clitheroe tried seemed to come up against an impenetrable stone wall defence.

But, Mossley Hill didn’t have it all their own way, flank forwards Ed Thornber and Ralph Rigby keeping them honest in attack and defence.

Just the one slip up and the Liverpool outfit were a try to the good before the turn round. Some wise words at the break and a rallying call to arms from the skipper saw the Littlemoor side start with renewed belief.

However their bubble was almost immediately punctured when Mossley scored within two minutes of the kick-off.

Clitheroe redoubled their efforts, pushing forwards at every opportunity, with centre Martin Lafraceschina prominent in Clitheroe’s best attacks, aided by the canny prompting of veteran fly half Dave Watson.

Several line breaks were made but lack of support enabled Mossley to snuff out the danger.

As the game entered its final quarter, Mossley made good use of their bench to freshen up their team, whereas Clitheroe had to soldier on under the humid summer sun. Mossley’s fresher legs told as they ran in a couple more tries and by the end Clitheroe’s spirit was more than willing but the flesh was unable to stem the tide.