Pendle Phoenix maintain their lead

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Pendle Phoenix battled through the mud to beat Fleetwood 12-7 to keep the Division Two North title in sight.

Phoenix welcomed Fleetwood to a very muddy Hodge House, and the weather didn’t help Pendle play their normal expansive game.

Pendle choose to play against the wind, and knew they needed to start well.

Strong runs from Dave King, Karl Wiseman and Luke McNamme allowed Pendle to get on the front foot.

Unfortunately, on a number of occasions the final pass was lacking.

It took a well-stolen lineout from Liam Canning and quick thinking from Danny Rowland put Shaye McCullough in space, and he outpaced the Fleetwood back line to score under the posts. He also added the extras as Pendle went into a 7-0 lead.

Fleetwood came hard at Pendle and excellent defence from Sonny Waddington, Nathan Peverley and Craig Wiseman kept them from scoring. Aldo Tranpanese and Shawn Moss were excellent at the breakdown and caused the visiting side problems all day.

At half-time Pendle felt they needed to freshen the side, and father and son Giz and Lewis William came ino the second row to strenghten the pack, while Rob Lawless continued his comeback from injury.

Phoenix needed to extended their lead and Rob Lawess broke through and offloaded to John Harper to scored in the corner, but the referee saw a forward pass and Pendle were brought back.

From the resulting scrum Fleetwood cleared their lines, but Michael Taylor collected the ball and ran it back at Fleetwood and hit Daniel Owen in space, who drew three defenders and passed to Giz Williams. At the resulting breakdown, Fleetwood attempted to clear their lines but Lawless read this and charged the ball down and collected the pieces to score in the corner. McCulough missed the convertion and Pendle led 12-0.

Fleetwood threw everything at Pendle and were rewarded with a converted try to take the score to 12-7.

In the last ten minutes, Phoenix showed the strength of the team and everyone put a excellent defensive proformance as they ran out winners and retained top spot.

Tomorrow Pendle welcome Preston Grasshopper to Hodge House, with everyone welcome, kick-off 2-15 p.m.