Pendle Phoenix dig deep and earn draw

editorial image

PENDLE Phoenix dug deep to draw at Chorley on Saturday, having trailed by 21 points after only 20 minutes.

The Phoenix squad need to learn how to build a score and not throw out silly passes when there are close supporting players on hand.

Last week at training they worked on playing from deep and supporting the ball carrier, this, however, seemed to have all been forgotten when they stepped out onto the park.

When Pendle strung their passes together they looked dangerous, and the opportunities to score were there, but unfortunately wrong decisions at crucial times cost Pendle dearly in the first 20 minutes.

Phoenix won a clearly-taken line out ball, and once the ball had been recycled, a quick pass from Tee Hempstead allowed Jonny Harper to carve through the defence to put Pendle on the score board.

Shaye McCullough was successful with the conversion to give Pendle seven points.

Phoenix now raised their game, and when a poor clearance kick from Chorley was caught by Carl Wiseman, he then switched the direction of Pendle’s attack and Liam Canning was on hand to finish off the move and score in the corner.

McCullough converted from the touchline to put Pendle back in the fight.

Just before half-time, Chorley scored a long range penalty after Pendle were deemed to have handled the ball in the ruck, and this sent Chorley in with a 10-point lead.

The half-time team talk was about being patient and doing the basics well, but straight from the kick-off Pendle were penalised for an off-side infringement and Chorley converted the penalty to stretch their lead to 27-14.

Pendle’s next attack saw the forwards drive hard into the Chorley defence, and when the ball was moved wide at pace, Wiseman had all the space he needed to score and pull Pendle back to 27-19.

Phoenix were awarded a penalty for an high tackle, and a quick tap and go allowed the backs to move the ball wide to the wing, and once again Canning was on hand to score in the corner and reduce Chorley’s lead to just three points at 27-24.

Chorley then extended their lead when they chipped over the Phoenix defence, and the Chorley winger won the race to the touchdown.

The try was converted, stretching their lead to 34-24.

Pendle were not beaten, and their never-say-die attitude allowed skipper Dave King to crash over the line after a series of pick and drives caught Chorley asleep.

The referee then indicated that time was up, and the line out would be the last play of the game.

Pendle won the line out in their own half of the field, and a long pass to Hempstead allowed him to split open the Chorley defence and race 50 metres to score and bring the score to 34-34.

Unfortunately the conversion was missed and Pendle settled for two points.

Pendle will need to put in lots of hard work at training to get back to their winning ways.

The Last Trading Post man of the match award went to Harper.