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Pendle Phoenix get their claws in to Eagle
4:51pm Tuesday 12th February 2013 in Sport
Pendle travelled to Eagle in a match that turned out to be a league and cup double header.
Due to bad weather and a congestion of fixtures, the league clash also doubled up as Lancashire Bowl semi final.
Pendle were happy to welcome new signing Sterling Ross and also welcome back Shaye McCullough.
Pendle were pumped from the start and this showed as from the onset Phoenix retained their own kick when James Finucane drove on a loose ball.
Quick rucking from Liam Canning and Luke McNamee allowed Dave Morris to give fast ball to the backs.
With Pendle on the front foot they exploited space but Tarquinn Hempstead and Andy Dutton were held up short of the line as excellent cover defence came from the Eagle back three.
Pendle continued to create a lot of pressure and camped down in the Eagle half. Excellent straight runs from Ross, Stu Riley and Riccardo Ferndizi kept Eagle on the back foot. Rob Lawless and Danny Owen made breaks but all this pressure came to nothing.
Eventually the pressure told and Eagle gave away a penalty.
Phoenix went to the corner and opted for a lineout. A great catch and drive from Canning resulted in the Pendle pack pushing Eagle over their own line, allowing Carl Wiseman to score only for the try to be disallowed for a knock on.
But it wasn’t long before they opened the scoring when Shaye McCullough drew the defenders and gave the ball to Canning who crashed over.
Phoenix decision to run the ball at every chance paid off when they scored a second try – quick counter attacking rugby from Shaye McCullough resulted in Ross scoring a try on his debut.
Eagle put pressure on the Pendle defence after the break but big hits from Ross, Jay Ashger and Rob Lawless kept them at bay.
But when Pendle gave away three penalties in a row they found themselves on their own try line for the first time in the match.
Eagle eventually scored with a good mis-pass out to the winger and he crashed over to make the last 10 minutes of the game tense.
But with tempers reaching boiling point, Pendle were strong enough to hold out to seal the victory and move up to fourth place in North Lancs Two – and also secure their place in the Lancashire Bowl final.