Pendle Phoenix end Thornton’s long unbeaten record

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PENDLE ended Thornton Cleveleys’ 18-month unbeaten record on Saturday.

Pendle ended Thornton Cleveleys’ 18-month unbeaten record on Saturday.

Pendle were the first to make a mistake when they gave away a sloppy score after a loose carry meant Thornton could get the ball wide. Exploiting the space, Thornton scored the opening try and their kicker added the extras to move the score to 7-0.

It wasn’t long before the scores were level when hard, straight running from Ricardo Ferndizi, Jay Ashger and Nick Martin drove Thornton into their 22. Quick thinking from scrum half Danny Rowland saw him squeeze through a small hole to score under the post. James Redford added the conversion.

Although the next 20 minutes saw Pendle and Thornton playing some excellent rugby, both defences were impressive and neither side gave much away. This defensive pressure showed when Pendle were adjudged for holding on in the ruck, giving Thornton an excellent attacking position. Thornton took advantage from the resulting lineout when Pendle players thought the Thornton scrum half had knocked on. The referee waved play on, and only excellent covering defence from Dave Morris prevented a try. However the Thornton player managed to release the ball to his supporting runner and he scored. Missing the conversion, the score remained 12-7.

This seemed to have a negative effect on Pendle, and Thornton dominated the final 10 minutes of the first half. Only excellent defence from Carl Wiseman, Daniel Edmondson and Tarquinn Hempstead kept Thornton from scoring. With only two minutes of the first half remaining, Thornton’s powerful running centre cut through to score. Thornton’s kicker again missed the extras and at half-time Pendle were down 17-7.

Pendle made a few changes at half time, bringing on Stu Riley and Paul McGladdery, and they came out and dominated most areas of play, except the scrum. Thornton gave a number of penalties away and Pendle kept pushing them deep into their own 22.

Again the Thornton defence wouldn’t crack, but 10 minutes into the second half, a loose carry from one of the Thornton players allowed Danny Owen to hack the ball through and chase his own kick, which he collected and scored. Redford missed the conversion but Pendle were back in the game at 17-12.

Straight from the kick-off Rob Lawless collected the ball and kicked it deep into the Thornton half. The Thornton full back tried to counterattack but Lawless had chased his own kick. A super tackle isolated the Thornton player allowing Wiseman to steal the ball and pass to Ashger. He in turn found Redford at full pace, and he ran from nearly half way. The Thornton player’s tackle dislodged the ball but Redford managed to juggle it, maintain possession and sneak in at the corner. Redford was facing a monster kick from wide on the left with the score level, but he nailed it to put Pendle in front for the first time.

Pendle had their tails up and were starting to control the ball. Thornton had been excellent in defence, but relentless pressure eventually told with a scrum in their own 22. Excellent thinking from Hempstead saw him steal the ball and run unopposed to score under the sticks.

Redford added the extras and Pendle went into the final 10 minutes 26-17 in front.

Unfortunately Pendle lost powerhouse Ferndizi, who was replaced by Dave King, though fresh legs enabled them to hold the Thornton pack at bay.

Intense pressure allowed Thornton to score, and with the resulting conversion it became a two-point game.

Pendle knew they had to keep Thornton in their own half and play out the final moments.

With the last play of the game Pendle managed to hold their own scrum, and a quick pass to Daniel Rowland allowed him a brief second to attempt a drop goal. However it sailed right of the post and the score remained 26-24.

Pendle awarded the man of the match to Ashger.

Pendle coaches would like to apologise to vice captain Jonny Harper for mistakenly giving his try the previous week to Redford.

If you are interested in playing rugby, Pendle are always looking for new players. You can e-mail info@pendlerugby.co.uk, visit www.pitchero.com/clubs/pendle1/ or ring Ben Peverley on 07977992080.

FINAL SCORE: Thornton Cleveleys 24, Pendle Phoenix 26