Shottery 24 Claverdon 2nds 31
THE WHEELS finally fell off the Shottery wagon as they suffered their first defeat of the season to local rivals Claverdon 2nds on Saturday.
On paper Shottery looked strong as they handed a first start to giant Kiwi Steve Payne, who replaced the grizzly old bear John Matthews at lock, and there were welcome returns to the club of newly-engaged Sam Green in the back row, Kev Aston and Royce Rossiter on the bench.
The game could not have started better for Shottery as they tore into Claverdon in the opening encounters, racing into a 14-0 lead inside ten minutes with two tries from the youthful Steve Day on the right wing, both converted by Andy Greenhouse.
As the game settled down, Claverdon began to claw their way back into contention through some strong running from their centre pairing, resulting in two tries of their own.
Knuckling down to the task, Shottery exerted some pressure of their own and, as the penalty count began to mount, one was eventually awarded within range of Greenhouse’s boot.
At 17-12 up and with half time approaching, Shottery switched off and Claverdon took advantage to level the score.
Some positional changes were made at half time, with Rossiter coming off the bench to bolster the pack that had been creaking a bit in the scrums.
These changes appeared to have the desired effect as Claverdon were not enjoying as much freedom in midfield as before. However, it was only a matter of time before Claverdon broke through some weak tackles to score two converted tries and take the lead for the first time in the match.
Richie Evans, who had been suffering with man flu and was lucky to be alive, was brought on for the last 20 minutes and his considerable presence was most noticeable in the scrums.
As Shottery chased the game in the final quarter, they were thwarted by a combination of poor option selection and some cynical fouls from the opposition.
With frustration mounting, Phill Caley was sent to the stands to cool off, after an altercation with the water boy – Shottery’s first yellow card for many years. He was soon followed by Claverdon’s fly half for a high tackle on prop Andy Barrow.
Shottery had the final say in the game as Rossiter crashed over under the posts for a well deserved try which was converted by scrum half Dom Skinner, but it was too little, too late.
After the game, Shottery skipper Simon Lee said: “It’s great to see some new faces out there and to have some of the old boys back. The future looks good for the club if we can continue to build on this.”
Shottery are away at Keresley this weekend and all new players and supporters will be made most welcome and should call Eugene on 07725 424146 for further details.