Pendle’s search for their first win of the season goes on after a narrow defeat at Newton Le Willows.
Phoenix started the game the stronger, and with Andy Dutton pulling the strings at fly half, they soon found themselves in the Newton 22 metre area. Pendle were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, but captain James Finucane decided to take the line out and go for the try.
Pendle threw the ball to Carl Wiseman, and when Phoenix set up a driving maul, Craig Wiseman touched the ball down. However the referee decided he had not seen the try and brought Pendle back for the scrum.
Pendle again went for the try but silly mistakes allowed Newton to clear their lines.
Pendle’s worse nightmares were realised after five minutes when Shaye McCullough was knocked out and had to leave the field. Unable to return, Pendle had to play the next 75 minutes with 14 men.
Newton took advantage and scored an unconverted try to take the lead 5-0.
Pendle and Newton attacked at every opportunity, but both defences held firm until James Redford cut through and handed the ball to the supporting Carl Wiseman, who scored to level the game, Andy Dutton added the resulting conversion and Pendle led at half-time 7-5.
Pendle were confident heading into the second half, and the first 10 minutes saw strong runs from Stu Riley, Nick Martin and Jay Asghar, but again Newton held firm.
Pendle fell asleep at the line out and a quick throw found a Newton player in space; they scored a soft try to take the lead 10-7.
Pendle needed a quick response but fate wasn’t on their side. Losing Craig Wiseman when he was knocked out cold, Phoenix tried to regroup but Newton were ruthless and scored another try to extend their lead to 15-7.
Pendle had thirty minutes to get back into the game with 13 men, and they did when excellent running from Sonny Waddington and Michael Taylor put Pendle deep into Newton territory.
Pendle forwards started to pick up and go, and with Luke McNamme, Carl Wiseman and James Finucane leading the way, Pendle found themselves five metres from the try line. Dave Morris made a gap for Benjamin Peverley to score, Dutton calmly added the conversion and Pendle were within a point of the lead.
But Pendle were starting to tire and Newton exploited the extra man and scored another try. This time the Newton kicker added the extras.
Then Dutton found a bit of space and took a chance with a drop goal from 30 metres out- Pendle were back within one score at 22-17.
However, despite going for the try, Phoenix had to settle for a well-fought losing bonus point.
Pendle could have awarded the Crown Hotel Man of the Match to all 15 players but Dutton got the nod.