Pendle made it five wins from five games as they maintained their great start to the season with a 26-17 win away at Newton Le Willows.
In the first 10 minutes, Pendle looked disjointed and Newton capitalised with an unconverted try - the conversion charged down by James Finucane.
This seemed to wake Pendle up but not enough to get some consistency into their play.
Pendle were making everything hard work; line outs looked scrappy and Newton’s defence were only too happy to add pressure.
Captain Finucane talked about going back to basics and Phoenix started to gain a bit of control by doing the simple things better.
It wasn’t long before Pendle were piling on the pressure and finally the Newton defence cracked when kick through found the Newton full back all alone. Great tackling from Paul McGladdery and Carl Wiseman allowed Pendle to steal the ball and when Finucane picked and drove, he found himself over the line.
Rob Lawless added the extras and Pendle led 7-5.
The game continued to be scrappy and Phoenix looked out of sorts. This was compounded with injuries to Liam Canning, Phil Perry and Tom Spencer. It did, however, mean a return to the game for Craig Wiseman.
Pendle started the second half brightly and were looking more the team they had been in previous games.
Strong runs from Stuart Riley, Riccardo Ferdenzi and Sonny Waddington gained Pendle’s field position and it wasn’t long before holes were appearing. Shaye McCullough attacked the line and off loaded to Lawless, who powered his way to the line. Lawless added the extras and Pendle stretched their lead to 14-5.
Pendle’s inconsistency returned however and Newton took control of the game once more, securing 12 unanswered points.
Phoenix needed leaders on the field but this wasn’t helped when Lawless was subbed with an injury. This meant Getty Schinkel came on to the field and encouraged the Pendle players to return to the basics and lead by example.
Soon Pendle were running hard and straight at the Newton defence and found themselves centimetres away from the try line. James Redford saw a hole in behind the ruck and drove it over to score Pendle’s third try of the game.
McCullough stepped up and slotted the conversion to take Pendle to a 21-14 lead.
Late on, strong running from Schinkel drew in the defence, and he off loaded to McCullough, who outpaced the Newton cover defence and scored Pendle’s fourth try of the game, although he couldn’t add the extras.
The Crown Hotel forward of the match was Craig Wiseman and the half backs winner was McCullough.