Carnforth 31-44 Clitheroe

Dan Blenkharn is tackled by Clitheroe.
Dan Blenkharn is tackled by Clitheroe.
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Carnforth missed the chance to leapfrog opponents Clitheroe in the Raging Bull North West Leagues Division Three North table on Saturday, losing 44-31 after a stunning comeback by the visitors.

Clitheroe suffered early on when they lost their skipper and scrum half Few to a shoulder injury, both sides played at a quick tempo as they tried to make the breakthrough.

The opening score came from the boot of Mathew Short via a penalty 15 minutes in but moments later and the scores were level when Peel added a penalty for Clitheroe.

The visitors then took the lead after capitalising on a mix up in the Carnforth backs as the ball came loose for a try in the corner.

Carnforth hit back well and on the half hour mark a superb break by centre Sammy Griffiths saw centre Jack Edmondson receive the ball in space, the centre cut through before rounding the full back for a try under the posts, Short converted to give them the lead again.

With three minutes of the half remaining Clitheroe scampered down the left wing from a penalty to register a second try but on the stroke of half time the lead changed hands again. Dan Blenkharn and Nick Hamer linked before the final ball was given to Edmondson who powered over the line to touch down, Short adding the extras from the touchline to give the hosts a 17-13 lead at the interval.

Carnforth got the second half off to a flyer when Griffiths again made a superb run at the heart of the visiting defence before Hamer released Edmondson who went through for his hat-trick, again Short slotting the extras from out wide.

Five minutes later and Carnforth went 31-13 up when Blenkharn was able to turn the ball over again to allow Simon Vale to the give Hamer the chance to take the ball through and eventually score the try, Short keeping his 100 per cent success rate going with another excellent conversion.

Clitheroe got back in the game on the hour when their centre Slinger cut through to score under the posts, Peel converting and two minutes later Slinger again slotted through a gap with Peel bringing the scores to 31-27

Carnforth had to withstand plenty of pressure and after numerous forward breaks the visitors took the lead with a try in the corner to make it 31-32 with five minutes to go.

Carnforth went down to 14 players when Short retaliated against the Clitheroe number four, and the visitors rubbed salt into the wound with two last gasp tries.