Pendle Phoenix 21, Colne and Nelson 9

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Pendle maintained their recent form with victory in the local derby against the All Blacks at Hodge House.

Colne started in fine form and the early exchanges went the All Blacks’ way as the pack drove hard into the home defence, winning ball at the scrum and keeping Pendle pinned down in their own 22.

Once the front row of Nick Martin, James Finucane and Dave King started to compete at the scrummage area, Pendle were given momentum in attack, winning a few scrums against the head.

With both teams’ defence being strong, the first 20 minutes were scoreless, but Pendle were eager to get on the front foot.

The All Blacks were playing well, but the first score of the game came when hard tackling from Jonny Harper and Daniel Owen resulted in a knock on from the Colne backs.

Carl Wiseman was able to collect the loose ball and sprint away to score. Rob Lawless stepped up and calmly slotted the conversion to allow Pendle to take a 7-0 lead.

Colne came back, and good forward pressure forced the home side to make mistakes, and the All Blacks were awarded a penalty, which was duly slotted over by Matty Tindall.

Pendle were now fired up to extend their lead and attacked with purpose, running hard and straight at the Colne defence.

Excellent driving runs from Lawless and Sonny Waddington resulted in Andy Dutton being able to control the game from fly half.

Colne’s defence held up though and Pendle were struggling to break them down.

However, Colne gave away two disputed penalties and Pendle decided to kick at goal on both occasions.

Lawless retained his impressive 100% kick percentage to take Phoenix into double figures and as the half-time whistle blew the home side were ten points clear at 13-3.

The second half started at the same pace, with both teams trying to get an edge, but good defence from Colne kept the score the same until a Colne player was left isolated and Dave Morris was able to catch him.

Quick turnover ball allowed Daniel Rowland to drive the Pendle forwards into the Colne half.

When Pendle managed to get quick ball at the ruck, Rowland hit a flat ball to Ben Peverley, allowing him to break the Colne defence and slip a pop pass to Tarquinn Hempstead.

Hempstead sold an outrageous dummy then side-stepped his way past the covering defence to the try line, scoring the second try of the game.

Lawless missed the resulting kick from out wide and the Pendle score was maintained at 18-3.

Colne had a task now to try and pull back some points, and they started to work their way up field, adding pressure to the Pendle defence.

Excellent defence kept Colne at bay, however the pressure eventually told and Pendle were penalised for not rolling away from the tackle. This time Colne decided to reduce the arrears and Tindall took a successful shot at goal to reduce Pendle’s lead to 18-6.

Pendle hoped to maintain control of the ball during the next 15 minutes and make Colne work from deep in their own half. This however didn’t happen as Phoenix were guilty of sloppy play, giving away silly penalties that resulted in Colne being given possession and working their way up the field.

Eventually Colne were within kicking distance, and Tindall took the points on offer to reduce the score to 18-9.

It looked as though the game was going to finish with that score, but James Redford had other ideas when he broke on the right hand touch line and took Pendle deep into the Colne 22. Colne were forced to give away a penalty to stop a third score. The Phoenix were happy enough to take the kick at goal and Lawless added another three points.

Pendle saw the rest of the game out and the referee finally called time on what was an exciting local derby.

Pendle awarded the Crown man of the match to Nick Martin for his tireless work in the scrum.

Pendle Phoenix would like to thank WH Petty’s for matchday ball sponsorship.

A big thank you also needs to go to The Crown Hotel, Colne for matchday sponsorship.

If you are interested in playing rugby for Pendle, you can contact the club by e-mailing info@pendlerugby.co.uk or visit the website www.pitchero.com/clubs/pendle1/.

You can also ring Ben Peverley on 07977992080.

Colne are also always looking for players, and you can text or call Ian Cockcroft (07590818341) or go to www.pitchero.com/clubs/colnenelsonrufc