Pendle Phoenix slipped to fifth place on Saturday when they played host to Chorley.
The opposition caught Pendle asleep from the kick off; a pick and drive by the Chorley forwards sucked in the Phoenix defence and a crafty chip through Pendle’s flat defence enabled the centre to touch down under the posts leaving an easy conversion.
Rob Lawless managed to reduce the scoreline when he struck a 30 metre penalty after Chorley were caught offside at a ruck. Phoenix stole the ball at the next scrum just outside the Chorley 22 and a blind side attack from Danny Rowland drew two defenders towards him and a well timed pass found Paul McGladdery at pace who raced clear to score in the corner giving Pendle a one point lead.
Chorley once again used their large forwards to pick and drive at the Pendle defence and a missed tackle allowed Chorley to score just before the half-time whistle going in leading 8-14.
Pendle were forced to make changes at half- time when they lost Craig Wiseman with a knee injury. Phoenix continued to attack the Chorley line and were eventually awarded a penalty try after the opposition continually infringed at the breakdown.
Lawless converted and once again Pendle took the lead by one point 15-14. Both sides tried to play wide expansive rugby but it was Chorley who struck next when a chip through caught the Pendle defence napping, the winger following up to score in the corner.
Chorley converted the try to take the score to 21-15. Pendle scored next from a quick tap penalty which saw Liam Canning held up short of the try line but Ben Peverley was on hand to collect the ball and drive over the line to pull back five points and bring the score to 21-20 in Chorley’s favour.
Chorley stretched their lead when Phoenix were caught handling the ball in a ruck, the Chorley stand off stroked the ball between the uprights to take the score to 20-24.
Pendle now threw everything into the last five minutes as only a try would give them the win, unfortunately a mistake in the Pendle defence allowed Chorley to intercept and race clear to score under the posts and the conversion saw Chorley run away winners by 20-31.
Pendle now need to regroup and hopefully will have a full squad for selection when they travel away to Old Bedians on Saturday. The Sapphire man-of-the- match was awarded to Liam Canning.