Still buoyant from the first win in this year’s Blacksticks Blue Junior Challenge competition a couple of weeks ago at West Park St Helens, Clitheroe’s Under 15s hosted Sedgley Park and gained a 27-7 triumph.
The home side was changed slightly following the unavailability of Wilkinson due to a football injury.
Number eight Smith took up the captaincy, ably supported by captain McLeod, now filling in at stand off.
The home side started brightly. Their rucking was crisp, while not committing too many to the ruck.
Moreover, they were looking confident with ball in hand, and it wasn’t long until they forced their way down field.
The backs moved the ball efficiently wide, and it was flanker Hamlet who was ready to benefit.
He finished clinically, and Clitheroe were off and running.
It wasn’t long before Hamlet, in a rich vein of form at present - added another.
With 15 minutes gone, Clitheroe were 10-0 to the good and were looking good value to score some more.
Smith was taking the captaincy responsibility well, and was leading by example.
The boys were testing the visitors’ defensive line, and it was only a matter of time before it cracked again.
This time, Smith broke from the back of a scrum and was stopped just short of the whitewash.
Hooker Paige gratefully grabbed the chance to score with both hands, literally, and splashed down in the mud to score Clitheroe’s third try.
Once again, despite some good striking, Duck’s radar was slightly off, and all tries in the half were unconverted – the only small blemish in a fantastic half of rugby for Clitheroe, where they led 15-0 going into the break.
A few substitutions were made at the break, but this didn’t slow down the momentum.
After Clitheroe had cleared their lines well, McLeod took the ball on, running strongly at the heart of the Sedgley defence.
The ball was expertly passed down the line to find the space, and Waller on the wing finished the move off excellently for his first try for the club.
The visitors did manage to score a try after five minutes of sustained pressure, and for a time they looked like they might trouble the Clitheroe defence, to the point where a comeback was on the cards.
This potential threat was snuffed out by the excellent McLeod who, having evaded the clutches of numerous defenders to sprint 60 yards, was hauled down and into touch just a few yards from the line.
The quick line out by Sedgley only put pressure on themselves, and Clitheroe quickly turned the ball over.
The ball was again quickly moved to space to the flying Smith, who finished off a splendid performance with a well-deserved captain’s try to take the final score to 27-7 to Clitheroe.
Clitheroe Under 15s now await the knockout draw later to see who their next opponents will be.