Claverdon 38 Brackley 3
Midlands Junior Vase round two
THE LIONS began their Vase campaign with a resounding victory over Brackley on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
New-boys Ryan Brogner and Josh Evans worked well from the Claverdon half and attacked with interest. Setting the ball for the forwards, carries from Steve Grimsley and Ross Pollard put Claverdon on the front foot and, after piling on the pressure, the hosts were soon awarded a penalty in front of the sticks which Tom Williams knocked over to make it 3-0.
Brackley rallied well and strong forward carries put them close to the try-line, leading to a strong challenge from the Lions’ Matthew Dunster which earned him a ten-minute rest following a tip tackle.
More pressure from the Brackley pack caused Claverdon to concede another penalty through Pollard in front of the sticks and it was 3-3.
With half-time looming, Claverdon knew they needed another score. With a lineout on the halfway line, Grimsley found Scott Alford at the top of the lineout and quick ball to Williams allowed him to send John Grey up the middle.
Taking three men with him, he unfortunately turned out badly as the centre severely injured his lower leg. It was broken in two places and Grey has received surgery, with all at the club wishing him the best and a speedy recovery.
The game was started with a scrum centre field. Off the scrum, Williams sent the ball wide through the hands and Harry Nathan showed his pace down the wing. Set up in the Brackley half, the Claverdon forwards trucked on through Tom Hudson and Colin Marklew.
Now on the 5m line, Ed Smith picked out Luke Allsopp who popped the ball over the final defender to Marklew who found himself scoring in the corner for 8-3.
With the slope in their favour in the second half, Claverdon had every chance to extend their lead and they did so to 11-3 when Evans once again collected a return with interest and Brackley conceded another penalty in from top the posts at the breakdown, allowing Williams to do the honours.
With the restart bouncing into touch just the right side of the 10m line, Claverdon had to be smart and a solid take from Alford saw Claverdon set and drive.
With Josh Smallwood controlling at the back, Claverdon gained yards up to the halfway line and a quick dart from Smith put Claverdon on the front foot. A wide pass from Williams set up James Gibney to glide through the defence and run away to the corner for his first try of the season and a 16-3 lead.
Claverdon continued to pin Brackley in their own half with solid defence across the field and strong work at the breakdown from Smith gave Claverdon a penalty near the posts to make it 19-3.
Strong carries from Hudson and Jack Yates caused problems for the visiting defence and, with the ball then shipped out to the backs, Dunster cut a hard line through the defence to get on the scoresheet.
Hudson then barrelled over his opposite man before finding Allsopp who went in under the posts for 31-3 and the final try, converted by Williams, came from Smith following a clever dummy.
The Lions will target a second win in as many Midlands Four West (South) matches when they visit Tenbury on Saturday.