Clitheroe maintained their promotion push with a thrilling win at rivals Tarleton.
Revved up by their captain, and with a strong wind at their backs Clitheroe started started strongly, with their intent evidenced by a crunching tackle from Nat Dickenson on a Tarleton forward.
Tarleton were tackling well but the early pressure told and an infringement resulted in a penalty to the Maroons. Peel slotted the penalty with a lucky mis-hit.
Clitheroe’s narrow ascendancy in the early stages resulted in territory but yielded little.
The pressure was telling, and following good interplay between backs and forwards, Thornber drove for the line but was only stopped by a defender infringing on the line and Clitheroe were awarded a penalty try which was converted.
However the pressure slowly built and Tarleton ran through a couple of phases and created the space to score a deserved converted try.
The intensity of the game increased and following a Clitheroe attack, Slinger received 10 minutes in the bin with a Tarleton player lucky not to receive similar.
Clitheroe always looked dangerous, and following good support by Hayton and Houldsworth, some space was created on the wing. Bleasdale received the pass, stepped two defenders superbly and crossed the line from 10 meters for a sublime finish.
Peel converted the extras to make it 17-7 to the Maroons.
Just before half-time, Clitheroe failed to kick the ball dead and Tarleton counter attacked to score a fine try in the corner, with the conversion missed.
In the second half, Tarleton came back strongly, exerting pressure on the Clitheroe line that eventually told with a try, conversion missed.
With 20 minutes to go, the Tarleton kicker coolly slotted a penalty to give the hosts a 20-17 lead.
Clitheroe fought with all they had, and following repeated phases, man of the match Thornber crashed over the line to score the crucial try.
The conversion was missed, but in the last 10 minutes, Clitheroe tackled as if their lives depended on it.
There was drama as Clitheroe infringed with a kickable penalty for Tarleton. The kick was missed, but again another penalty was awarded.
The scrum half tapped and went only to be tackled immediately by Cathcart. A yellow card was given but the phrase ‘one for the team’ springs to mind.
Clitheroe held on for the last few plays to record a crucial win.
Clitheroe play at home to Chorley on Saturday.
l Clitheroe Under 16s battle well but met their match in Blackburn’s big set in the Plate Quarter-Final.
Blackburn’s class told as they scored seven tries through the game, but Clitheroe stuck to their task throughout, their heads didn’t drop and they tackled ferociously making Blackburn work hard for their yards.