Pendle Phoenix build on opening day victory with hard-fought win

Action from Saturday's game
Action from Saturday's game

Pendle built on an impressive opening day win with victory in their first home game of the new season at Hodge House.

It wasn’t long before Pendle opened the scoring when they were awarded a penalty and captain James Finucane opted to pile the pressure on Eagle.

An excellent line out from Liam Canning provided quick ball which allowed Daniel Rowland and James Redford to attack the line, feeding a rampaging Rob Lawless to score. Lawless also slotted the conversion.

However, Eagle were soon celebrating an unconverted try of their own.

Phoenix bounced back as Canning, Ben MacDermid and Riccardo Ferdenzi drove Eagle off their own ball at a ruck. Shaye McCullough launched a counter-attack on the blindside and fed supporting debutant Mathew Crowley, who sprinted away for his first try. Again Lawless added the extras.

With half-time fast approaching Pendle’s concentration wavered, allowing the Eagle centre to break through and score under the post. This time Eagle added the extras.

Pendle looked to re-group, however their panic resulted in giving away a silly penalty. Eagle opted to take the penalty shot at goal, which they converted, to take the lead.

In the second half, after constant pressure Eagle finally found a hole in the Pendle defence and scored, although they missed the conversion.

Pendle made a number of changes to re-energise the team, and were now piling the pressure on. Pendle finally got over the Eagle try line, only for an Eagle defender to hold up the ball.

This resulted in a five-metre scrum, and when Getty Schinkel picked up from the base and drove into the defence, a supporting Canning collected the ball and scored to the right of the posts. Lawless continued his 100% kicking percentage as Pendle regaind the lead.

With time ticking away and both sides pushing for the victory, it was going to be close finish. Eagle were applying the pressure and when they gave the ball away, excellent counter-attacking from James Hall, Kris Boocock and Sonny Waddington put McCullough in space. Deciding to chip the full-back and collect his own kick, McCullough raced away to score an excellent try. Lawless made it an eight-point game with the conversion.

The Crown Hotel Forward of the Match was Canning, and Half backs Man of the Match was awarded to Crawley.