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Birch the star for battling Clitheroe
3:43pm Tuesday 25th February 2014 in Sport
Clitheroe 33 Carnforth 17
Clitheroe secured a bonus points in a four tries to two win over close rivals Carnforth at Littlemoor last Saturday.
Clitheroe came unstuck in the corresponding fixture at Carnforth earlier in the season so were anxious to make amends.
However absentees made the task a tough one.
The front row resources were stretched thinly throughout the club. So a rejig was called for with John Procter promoted from the 2nd XV, Kieron Keough switching to hooker and Tom Hardman returning to loose head prop.
There was a debut for Richard Few on the right wing and the skipper Nathan Peel moved to scrum half allowing Dave Watson to slot in at outside half.
The pitch had several sticky patches, but on the whole was the driest it has been for several weeks and credit must go to groundsman Phil Isherwood.
Clitheroe soon warmed to their task and were confident with ball in hand.
Few made an immediate impact as he scooted down the wing to score the opening try on his debut with his first touch of the ball.
Better was to follow when after a prolonged siege on the visitors’ line a five metre scrimmage was awarded. A clean heel from the front row and No.8 Sam Thornber caught the Carnforth defence napping and strode under the posts. Greg Birch converted to put Clitheroe in command.
But just when the home side thought they had the game under control Carnforth came storming back with a deserved try of their own.
Clitheroe just about kept their composure and forced two penalties with Greg Birch knocking over two of them for an 18-11 half time lead.
A bright start to the second period saw Birch increase his points tally with another penalty.
Then Clitheroe seemed to go off the boil and loose concentration. This only served to let the visitors back in the game as they scored their second try.
But after that it was all Clitheroe who had the lion’s share of territory.
Two more tries for Clitheroe – Birch again dotting down twice – make it seem like it was one way traffic but that doesn’t quite tell the full story as Carnforth were always in the game.
Clitheroe are back in action this Saturday when they welcome league leaders North Mancheset to Littlemoor with a 2.15pm kick off.
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