Clitheroe suffered their first defeat since the league split, losing out 25-17 to North Manchester, and it certainly left a few questions unanswered after a game of two halves.
In the early exchanges, the hosts exerted the pressure, and it was no surprise when they crossed for their first try as they were dominating territory and possession.
The visitors received another blow when Chris Stewart was forced off with injury and the reshuffle allowed Hayton and Shorthouse to replace Eagle, who went into the back line, and Kenyon.
North have some quick, talented players and they took their chances. It wasn’t long before the hosts had a two on one attack on the wing, and crossed to make it 10-0.
Clitheroe started to wake up, and pressure was exerted in the right area.
Following a five-minute period on the hosts’ line, Nat Dickenson crashed over.
Dickenson’s try was much deserved and he brought the intensity required for the visitors with his tackling and loose play.
However, just as they thought there was light at the end of the tunnel, the Maroon and Golds turned the ball over deep in the opposition half and a North player ran the length of the field to score, as the half finished 15-5.
The second half began and Clitheroe started to dominate in the forwards.
However, the ball was turned over again, North capitalised and crossed under the posts, with the extras added.
This seemed to galvanise Clitheroe and for the last 30 minutes they played as they can.
They improved their rucking, game management and the back line complimented this.
Following a rolling maul, Schinkel crossed to make it 22-10.
Following more pressure on the hosts’ line, a penalty was conceded by North. The visitors opted for a scrum, and North conceded a further penalty at the scrum and a penalty try was awarded.
With just minutes remaining North were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, it was kicked and game over.
Clitheroe’s man of the match was captain Will Dickenson.