Pendle were beaten by the better side as they entertained second place Thornton Cleveleys at Hodge House.
Phoenix were hoping to maintain recent form, but suffered setbacks early in the week when five players were unable to play due to work and family commitments.
However they were still able to put out a strong squad and were confident of doing the business on the field.
Pendle knew this would be an uphill struggle as the Thornton pack had been strong in the game earlier in the season.
Pendle were ready for the challenge and even though Thornton were dominating in the scrum, the lineout and open play was firmly even.
Phoenix were attacking on the back foot but Rob Lawless and James Redford were able to find small holes in the Thornton defence.
However, on each occasion these were quickly closed and excellent cover defence kept Pendle at bay.
The Thornton attack was starting to penetrate Pendle’s defence and it wasn’t long before the visitors were two tries in front, and at half time they led 12-0.
Pendle came into the second half with more determination and looking to attack at every opportunity.
Andy Dutton put Pendle up the field with excellent tactical kicking but again this came to nothing and
Phoenix soon found themselves under their own posts again with a 19-0 deficit.
Phoenix weren’t going to take this lying down and finally, after some strong runs from Sterling Ross, Jay Ashger and Liam Canning, Pendle found themselves in the Thornton 22.
Redford scored in the corner and, unconverted, the score remained 19-5.
Pendle again found it hard to stop the Thornton pack and it wasn’t long before they were pushing the home team back again, increasing their lead and strangle hold on the game at 24-5.
Pendle never gave up and excellent tackling from Luke McNamee and Craig Wiseman managed to force a turnover which allowed Nick Martin to kick forward for Stu Riley to collect and power his way to the line, only to be held up just short.
However, Redford was on hand to collect the ball and score his second try of the game.
Lawless was unable to add the extras but Pendle reduced the arrears to 24-10.
With the last play of the game Pendle were looking to see the game out but Thornton had other ideas.
They scored a soft try and added the extras as the referee blowed the whistle to end the game at 31-10.
Thornton were a strong outfit and very much deserved the win, but the Pendle team showed character on the day and managed to take a lot of positives from the game.
Pendle were able to award the Sapphire Cleaning Services man of the match to Ashger for his defence and straight, hard running.
Pendle would also like to thank Renco for their continued support and match ball sponsorship.
If you are interested in playing rugby, Pendle are always looking for new players.
You can also ring Ben Peverley on 07977992080.