RUGBY: Clitheroe are the comeback kings!

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Clitheroe made the short trip over the hill and earned their first win at Pendle Phoenix after a stunning comeback.

Both teams went at it hammer and tongs from the off.

The try lines at either end were threatened, before Kino burst through from 15m out after quick ruck ball from the forwards.

Conversion taken and seven points up, Clitheroe were buoyant and looked to run everything at the home team to capitalise on their advantage of a slight downhill slope and the wind behind them.

Great runs from Railton in the centres and Fitzhenry from full back, plus the exertions of both wing men Birch and Waterworth meant Clitheroe were on the front foot for much of the first half. With the resolute forwards as dependable as ever in securing the ruck ball for the back line to strut their stuff – aggressive rucking from Hough and Atkinson in particular showed dividends.

However, Pendle scored next with a try out wide after some typically forceful running from both backs and forwards, and they went in again shortly after, but with only one conversion taken it was only a five-point deficit as the teams headed into half-time at 12-7.

In the second half it was up the hill and into the wind for the Maroon and Golds, and Pendle looked to take advantage, pressing hard into Clitheroe territory, and their efforts paid dividends. The tight five had the hosts completely mastered at scrum time, with the front row of Penny, Atkinson and Graves bolstered by locks Hough and Jim Smith, the Pendle scrum was in reverse for most of the afternoon. However, their ascendancy nearly proved to be their undoing, as after Pendle ran out of props and the scrums went uncontested with 30 minutes to go. Clitheroe appeared to get bogged down and Pendle took advantage of some forlorn tackling to score two deserved tries and move into a 24-7 lead with a further conversion.

However, Clitheroe adopted a never say die attitude, and after forceful running and ball recycling they entered the Pendle half with the back line now screaming for the ball out wide – Watson to Railton, Railton to Peel and a lofted pass to Dickinson, who turned on the gas to break the defensive line and fly up the wing. Hauled down within inches of the line, Greg Birch scooped the ball from his hands to touch down. Clitheroe now began to play their open running game and looked sharp as the likes of Nathan Carlton drove up the pitch, aided and abetted by Chamberlain and Kino. Clitheroe pressed into the Pendle half again and lost the ball in contact, Pendle took the opportunity to counter attack and bounded back into the Clitheroe half. A great steal of the ball saw it popped to Dan Smith, who scooted on a mazy run up the pitch to score near the posts, with the conversion taken. The deficit was down to five points and again Clitheroe pounded up the pitch. A set scrum and the simplest of moves saw Kino break into the line and score under the posts, Fitzhenry slotted the conversion and the referee blew the whistle – Clitheroe victorious for the second week running.

Saturday (April 7th) is a rest day before the tough trip to Ashton on April 14th.

Burnley 3rds 7, 8 Clitheroe 2nds

FOLLOWING a string of recent defeats, this was a much-needed win for Clitheroe seconds.

Clitheroe started with purpose, they started to dominate possession and territory but couldn’t deal Burnley the killer blow, and as they pressured Burnley in their own 22, a misplaced pass popped into the hands of the quickest home player and he sprinted 65 yards to score under the posts.

Despite going behind, Clitheroe knew if they could continue to build momentum, the points would come, and they did, with a penalty by full back Keough after good driving play by Farnsworth and Harper. Going into half time, Clitheroe were behind 7-3.

After a quick ruck, Thornber took the ball from the back of a maul and moved quickly right to pop the ball to Newton. He showed good pace and drew the last man before throwing a pass to Brown allowing him to score. However, the pass from Newton was adjudged to be forward.

Over the next 10 minutes, Clitheroe were camped out on the Burnley line and Geraint Williams took charge, receiving the ball at pace from a tap penalty and cutting right through to score a good try. Keough was just wide with the conversion but Clitheroe led 8-7.

Apart from a few nervy moments during the last few minutes, Clitheroe held on for a good victory.

Their penultimate game is at home today (April 7th) to leaders Chorley seconds, 3 p.m.