This was set to be a huge test for pool who have endured difficult times in the past month after 2 defeats and the loss of their top of the table status. With all this and the fact that earlier in the season Blackpool were lucky to escape with a late win over Clitheroe.
The game started a little on edge for the home side who were missing Baz Tucker through unavailability and Ash Portasman
who has suffered a knee injury which thankfully is not as serious as first thought.
Clitheroe had an early chance to punish Blackpool after some handling in the ruck,the referee saw fit to award a penalty in a central position but luckily for them the away sides kicker couldn't find the legs on the conversion and the scores remain 0-0.
After this there would be a 15 minute spell of deadlock with neither side able to break the defensive line.
But Blackpool began to get a stranglehold on things and the began to dominate in the scrums where they upset the opposition ball all day long. The breakthrough eventually came through winger Nathan Crane who rounded off a lovely backs move to go over in the corner. Kane Hadgraft
added the conversion to make it 7-0. This sprung Blackpool into life and in many ways they began to teach themselves a lesson as the forwards played a very different game by allowing the backs to have the ball and use their pace to cause havoc. The next try arrived 5 minutes later when centre Hadgraft raced clear of the last man to score another outstanding try. With Blackpool starting to do brilliantly in the rucks a determined Clitheroe side began to take measures to slow them down. It was these tactics that led to hooker Chris Parlour receiving a ten minute cooling down period after he used his boots to remove the infringing players. He could consider himself lucky that it was only a yellow card.
But Blackpool held their own in the ten minutes without him and continued to disrupt the scrums and look dangerous coming forward. Mason was controlling the ball well at the back of the scrum and scrum half Mavis was supplying stand off Gaz Woodall
brilliantly and Woodall was a nuisance all afternoon.
Blackpool would score another try while they were a man down when Nathan Crane went in for his second try of the match. The conversion was missed and pool went in at half time with a commanding 19-0 lead.
After a half time breather Pool started the second half at great pace and Crane rounded off his hat trick in the opening minute of the half, just managing to squeeze in the corner after some good work by Mason.
Blackpool began to play some superb stuff and centre Andy O'Brien
was having one of his best games of the season both in defence and in attack. The home side continued to throw the ball around and good support play from the forwards created more and more opportunities. The next try came from a moment of magic from the ever improving scrum half Mavis who took a brilliant tap penalty and split the defence with a superb pass to Mick Harrison to score under the posts. Hadgraft converted.
With the score now at 31-0 Clitheroe finally got a try of their own which was converted. It was then that Andy O'Brien
got the try he deserved for all his efforts and what a try it was. Showing great ability to revive a move that had slowed down he jinked through to go over in the corner much to the delight of his team mates and home support.
Blackpool then made a couple of changes and handed a home debut to winger Josh Davenport who with virtually his first touch of the ball score his first try for the club.
There was time in between scores for Dean Bailey
to get in on the act....the sin binning act after he was deemed to have been repeatedly offside, which is sure to be an outrageous claim as those who know him, know that he wouldn't do such a thing.
Clitheroe then grabbed a second try to make the scores 41-12.
With 10 minutes remaining there was still time for two more brilliant tries. First up was full back Tom Sanderson
who ran the ball fantastically throughout the game. After Clitheroe had attempted to clear their lines, Sanderson caught the ball in his own half and used his blistering pace to race down the near touchline and score under the posts. Hadgraft converted. The final try was a a superb team effort which had a bit of everything. It started when returning prop George Hunt took the kick off and threw an outrageous dummy before stepping through the close defenders. Once he was eventually halted another returning player Paul Carmody burst on the ball and made yards before offloading to hooker Parlour. For a moment it looked like his attempt to through a dummy to thin air had killed the flow of the mood but then he managed to offload superbly from a tackle for Mick Harrison to race on and score his second try of the match. The conversion was added and the game was well and truly wrapped up.
At times in the second half Blackpool were superb and really expanded their game to allow the backs to kill the opposition off. Man of the Match was Kane Hadgraft
who scored two tries and was trusty with the boot. Other notable performance came from Mavis at scrum half, Andy O'Brien
who tackled fiercely in the centres as well as caused problems going forwards and one of the 3 players that was wearing number 15 were also praised. Fair play to Clitheroe who kept playing with great spirit throughout the game and are definitely a better side than their current league position suggests.
Next week Blackpool head to Leigh hoping to keep the heat on the teams above them.