A missed opportunity for Pendle Phoenix

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PENDLE saw a 24-7 lead evaporate as Clitheroe won with the last play of the game.

Phoenix were forced to make eight changes from last week’s squad due to a huge injury list, and Clitheroe set out their intent straight from the kick- off by using their huge forward pack to carry the ball deep into the Phoenix defence.

They were awarded a well deserved try for their effort, and with the conversion they led 7-0.

Phoenix were playing off the scraps, and when Nick Martin stole a ball at a ruck, quick hands by the backs found Liam Canning in space, and a dummy scissors move allowed him to outpace the defence and score from 50 metres out. The conversion was missed but Pendle were now back in the game.

Danny Owen, who moved to centre, showed his versatility when he side stepped his way through to score a great individual try and give Phoenix a 10-7 half-time lead.

Pendle lost Craig Wiseman with a recurrence of a leg injury and Danny Rowland was called into work in an emergency, which left Pendle with only 14 men, as Jan Askew took to the field as cover.

Pendle were awarded a penalty just inside the Clitheroe 22, and a quick tap and go saw Canning get his second try of the afternoon, which he converted to give Pendle a 10-point lead. Phoenix were to suffer a further loss when Michael Clapham had to leave the field with a neck injury.

Pendle stretched their lead when again Owen latched onto a wayward pass and somehow found a way to the try line to give Pendle their fourth try of the afternoon and a 24-7 lead.

Pendle were now home and dry with 10 minutes left, but a lapse in concentration allowed Clitheroe to score and pull five points back . Pendle were then reduced to 12 players when the referee sent Liam Canning off.

This gave Clitheroe a huge advantage and they attacked Pendle, who eventually ran out of defenders, to score under the posts and convert the try, pulling the game back to 24-19.

With the last play of the game, Clitheroe scored and when the conversion sailed over, the victory was sealed.

Sapphire Cleaning man of the match was awarded to Owen.