PENDLE travelled the short distance to local rivals Clitheroe this week and edged the derby.
Phoenix were happy to welcome back Liam Canning after his lengthy lay-off, and were hoping to start fast, but an injury to prop Ricardo Ferdenzi in the warm up meant a reshuffle in the front row. Stu Riley was promoted from the bench and Dave King was drafted in as a front row replacement.
Pendle knew the task was going to be difficult as Clitheroe always present a tough test, and it proved the case.
From the first scrum the hosts showed their intent with their much larger pack driving the Pendle scrum back and setting a stern platform for the Clitheroe backs to play from.
An injury to prop Riley just 10 minutes into the game saw Dave King come on in replacement, bringing knowledge and experience to the Pendle side.
Excellent defence from Carl Wiseman, Daniel Edmondson and Canning helped Phoenix settle themselves into the game. Pendle tried to up the pace, but the Clitheroe defence kept the momentum slow, making the game more forward based and allowing both fly halves to control passages of the game with their tactical kicking.
Once again Pendle tried to speed up the game when Tarquinn Hempstead’s quick tap penalty found Clitheroe’s defence in disarray. James Redford side stepped his way to the try line to score unconverted and open the scoring.
The rest of the half continued in much the same way with both defences working hard and attacking options not posing much threat. Again excellent defence from Jonny Harper, Sonny Waddington and Dave Morris kept Clitheroe at bay. Hard running from Jay Ashger and Nick Martin didn’t result in any points being added to the score line and Pendle went into the break hoping for some words of inspiration from captain James Finucane.
Pendle began the second half determined to inject more pace and momentum into the game. Having replaced Morris at scrum half, Daniel Rowland upped the tempo with his quick thinking and tap penalties. This seemed to work when Ashger was put through a hole in the Clitheroe defence and managed to draw the full back, but his final ball to the supporting Rowland wasn’t strong enough and another opportunity fell by the wayside.
However it wasn’t long before another quick tap penalty had the Clitheroe defence on the back foot. Redford again found space and added five points to Pendle’s lead with a confident try. The resulting conversion just sailed wide but Pendle now held a 10-point advantage.
The last 20 minutes saw Clitheroe searching for scores, running hard and straight to get themselves back in the game. Pendle’s defence held strong for long periods but after a number of consecutive penalties Clitheroe found themselves in the Pendle 22, and tired tackles resulted in the hosts crossing the line.
Clitheroe’s kicker added the extras and allowed them to narrow the lead to just three points at 10-7.
Pendle made a few changes with Shawn Moss and George Butler replacing Wiseman and Waddington respectively. This gave Pendle a new energy and helped Phoenix raise their game to keep Clitheroe at bay.
Pendle held out to the bitter end and came away with a hard fought win of 10-7, allowing Phoenix to move into third place in the RFU North Lancashire 2. Man of the match was Harper for his tireless work in both attack and defence.
Pendle would also like to thank Harper for his dedication to Pendle Phoenix and wish him all the best after playing his last game for the team as his work commitments mean he will be moving down south.
Pendle would also like to thank match sponsors Sapphire Cleaning Services for the matchday sponsorship and continued support throughout the 2012/ 2013 season.
FINAL SCORE: Clitheroe 7, Pendle Phoenix 10
If you are interested in playing rugby, Pendle are always looking for new players.
You can also ring Ben Peverley on 07977992080.