Pendle Phoenix maintain fine form

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FOLLOWING two cancelled games earlier in the season, Pendle finally travelled to Carnforth this week hoping to continue the excellent formfrom their previous match against Clitheroe.

However this was going to be difficult with 12 players missing due to injuries and work commitments.

Phoenix were still optimistic though and felt they could come back to Hodge House with a first-rate result.

With a number of players playing out of position Pendle were hoping for a steady start to the game.

However Carnforth exploited the confusion in the middle of the field and their fly half breezed through a sloppy Pendle defence to score in the opening minutes.

After a stern talking to from captain James Finucane, Pendle knew they needed to play the game in Carnforth’s half.

Excellent tactical kicking from Andy Dutton (pictured) kept Carnforth pegged back in their own territory.

Pendle were soon on level terms after Liam Canning caused problems in the Carnforth lineout, and when the resulting clearance was charged down, Canning and Terry Hardy were quickest to react, with Canning slamming the ball down in the corner.

Dutton stepped up for the conversion but was unsuccessful and the score remained level at 5-5.

Phoenix now had the bit between their teeth and it wasn’t long before they were celebrating again with another try from Canning.

It came from an excellent driving run from Rob Lawless, and when he was finally tackled, great rucking out from Stu Riley, Shawn Moss and Nick Martin allowed quick ball from Shaye McCullough.

Dutton put Canning through a gap to help him score his second try of the game.

Unconverted, Pendle held a five-point lead at 10-5.

Canning completed his hat-trick with only 30 minutes of the game elapsed when excellent straight running from Sterling Ross and Jay Asghar made space for Canning to race away and score.

This time Dutton added the extras and the score moved to 17-3.

On two occasions Phoenix squandered excellent scoring opportunities with loose passing and players over-running the ball.

However, Pendle remained positive and were soon rewarded with the final play of the first half. Phoenix worked their way up the field and when Dutton hit a flat pass to a speeding James Redford, no-one could stop him.

Redford managed to score but pulled a hamstring in the process and was unable to continue.

Dutton added the extras and Pendle went into half-time 24-5 in front.

Determined to continue their impressive scoring pattern, Pendle went into the second half confident of maintaining form.

However, Carnforth weren’t keen to let this happen and began to use some old headed tactics.

With a number of incidents in the second half, Pendle were made to lose focus on their game and concentrate on that of the opposition.

For much of the second half the game was sloppy and lacked structure.

Pendle lost a player to the sin bin and the game was littered with mistakes and missed opportunities.

It was only when Carnforth scored another unconverted try that Pendle seemed to wake up.

Phoenix came straight back at Carnforth when Asghar found a hole for Askew and he drove deep into the Carnforth 22.

Quick ball from Shaye McCullough found George Butler in space and just before contact he managed to hit a pass to a rampaging Ross, who powered his way to the line.

Dutton was unsuccessful with the conversion but Pendle’s fifth and final try meant the visitors left Carnforth happy with another bonus point victory of 29-10.

Pendle awarded the CSL man of the match to Liam Canning for his excellent hat-trick and all round game.

Pendle would also like to thank match ball sponsors The Mighty Pound Store, Colne for their support.

If you are interested in playing rugby, contact the club by e-mailing info@pendlerugby.co.uk, go to www.pitchero.com/clubs/pendle1 or contact Ben Peverley on 07977992080.