Rugby feast at Clitheroe

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This annual challenge match is always well attended and much anticipated and more often than not, very well contested.

This year was no exception with a large crowd feasting on some excellent rugby from both sides.

The first XV, captained by Oliver McEntyre, who once again will captain the side into next season, knew they were in for a game during the opening exchanges, with the President’s side taking the majority of territory and possession.

Visiting prop Mike Wilyman made the scrummage his own, while back row Taffy Haynes made a niusance of himself at ruck time, and fly half Mike Livesey marshalled his backs with some aplomb.

That said, it was the firsts who opened the scoring when Peel, playing at outside centre, was fed a lovely ball by Watson and scampered on the outside to score a well-worked try.

All the President’s men weren’t to be outdone, and after good pressure, the younger Smith, playing scrum half, found the smallest of gaps to squeeze through to equalise.

The firsts certainly had the stars, but the men in blue made them work hard for everything, and it was only through sheer persistence that the firsts scored once more, this time with Waddington scoring from his unaccustomed position of wing, just prior to the half-time whistle.

With so many men to choose from, the President’s side made mass changes, making sure everyone got the chance to experience the game.

This put them somewhat on the back foot, with new players having to quickly gel, and this perhaps was what led to the firsts pulling away a little on the scoreboard.

First Peel scored his second, before Lafranceschina came onto the pitch and immediately made his presence known to the degree that he scored three tries in just over 10 minutes.

This period of dominance was to be broken briefly with a fine try from Malcolm Heanan.

Malcolm made the trip from the South East to make the game and rolled back the numerous years since last donning a Clitheroe shirt as he intercepted a ball from within his own half and started his run upfield.

Almost everyone watching thought he’d be quickly caught, but his deceptive speed remained from years gone by, and with no-one lying a hand on him, he was able to sprint to the line to score an exceptional solo try.

A few minutes later, the President’s side got a third and final try from Luke Procter, captain Procter’s eldest son, before Smith the Elder finished the game off with a sparkling break to run 60 metres unopposed to score.

The Smith brothers were both awarded as the best players in their respective teams and rightly so as both played fantastically well,.

It was truly a great game to be involved in, either as a player or spectator, and the enjoyment continued in the bar thereafter, no doubt with all the players getting in some practice before the Annual Dinner, to be held at the club on Saturday from 7 pm.

Tickets are still available from Bob Wilkinson on 07962 099935 or

A summer touch rugby league is currently being finalised and details will be available very soon through the club website or again, through Bob, the club’s playing contact.