Rossendale prove to be too strong for Clitheroe

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Clitheroe went down to a strong team from Rossendale at Littlemoor on Saturday.

With plenty of changes in both the forwards and back line, it was always going to be a big ask to match Rossendale.

However, the opening few minutes of the game were all Clitheroe, and good pressure into the Rossendale 22 saw a snatched drop goal attempt slice wide of the uprights from Peel, who was quick in on the action again with Curphey, as the returning flanker drove the ball up the pitch into the scoring zone and was ably supported by Peel as they propelled the team forward, only for the move to break down close to the Rossendale line.

The visitors responded well and poured into the Clitheroe half, and scored off a rolling maul, then a chip over the top was a little too strong and went dead. From the 22 drop out Rossendale meandered through some fairly sparse tackling and scored near the posts.

They scored again when the blindside flanker intercepted a pass, broke 30 yards and offloaded to his support who dotted down and suddenly Clitheroe were 17 points down.

The Maroon and Golds responded magnificently, and a raking kick into the Rossendale 22 from Watson saw the full back knock on. With advantage being played, scrum half Smith popped the ball to the crash run of Peel, who converted his own try.

But just when they had brought themselves back into the game, a kick was charged down and bounced straight into the hands of the attacking Rossendale line for them to score again, and they followed up with a further score before half time when the Rossendale centre stepped nicely and went down the outside to move into a 31-7 lead.

In the second half, Rossendale again capitalised on a basic error with a dashing try out wide from an overlap.

The Maroon and Golds responded well, with Chamberlain showing well in the loose to win ball and Bartle rampaged through the centre to score.

Rossendale were next to score with another mistake in the Clitheroe 22 leading to a spilt pass which Rossendale gobbled up to score, giving a 45-12 scoreline with 15 minutes to play.

Clitheroe started to play some of their best rugby of the game, and they scored possibly the try of the game.

A rolling maul, with powerhouses Dowson, Mick Thornber and Jim Smith putting in the grunt, and Edmondson, Andrew Thornber and Chamberlain giving the maul direction, had Rossendale in retreat and Smith released the ball to Watson at 10, then Peel took it on and slipped it to Curphey, who delivered a perfect pass to Hough bursting into the line at full back to score in the corner.

Home man of the match was Matt Bartle.

On Saturday, both the firsts are at Preston Grasshoppers, while the seconds go to BAe Warton.