Lions are up and running - The Stratford Observer

Lions are up and running

Stratford Editorial 9th Nov, 2016   0

Claverdon 24 Coventry Welsh 15

Midlands Four West (South)

CLAVERDON bagged their first league win of the campaign on Saturday as they impressed in front of a partisan vice presidents crowd at Ossetts Hole Lane.

A number of injuries to key players and retirements have caused havoc at Claverdon this season, but momentum has been building and the long-awaited win is now under their belts.

However, for the second week running, Claverdon conceded within the first few minutes as a mismatch and a break allowed the visitors’ speedy winger to dart over in the corner, although the conversion from wide on the right was missed.

The Lions soon had the upper hand in both possession and territory though, with the scrums the only real stronghold Coventry Welsh had in the game.

New faces in new positions for the hosts did not bode well for fluid rugby and the little errors creeping into the game were all that kept Welsh in it.

Jack Johnson, back from a month in Florida, got Claverdon on the board when he scored between the posts following a quickly taken tap penalty.

James Williams, also restored to the side following injury, added the extras to nudge Claverdon two points clear.

However, the lead did not last long and Welsh forced their way over with a dominant scrum to regain the advantage.

The much heavier Welsh front row had an enjoyable first half and the conversion gave the visitors a 12-7 lead at the break.

Claverdon came roaring out of the blocks in the second half as Johnson claimed the restart like a salmon out of water before the Lions surged to within a metre of the line.

Much quicker ball at the breakdown tired the heavy Welsh front five and allowed Claverdon to play with a little more freedom.

Charlie Byrd’s excellent work led to an opportune try for Will Lawton who pounced on a loose ball in the Welsh in-goal.

Byrd, sneaking up behind the Welsh prop, dived at his ankles to bring him to the floor, allowing Lawton to dive on the loose ball and score before Williams added the extras to put Claverdon 14-12 up.

An exchange of penalties kept the scoreline close but, with the scrums now at parity and the Lions’ Steven Grimsley winning ball against the head, there was only ever going to be one winner.

A break deep into the Welsh half saw a huge overlap on the right wing where last season’s top Claverdon try-scorer Johnson was waiting to dart between three defenders and dive over for his second try.

Williams maintained his 100 per cent record with the boot to put the hosts more than a converted score clear at 24-15.

With seconds on the clock and Claverdon chasing a bonus point win, a blindside break from Byrd and Williams was thwarted by some last-ditch defence.

However, the victory was secured and the vital four points gives the Lions renewed hope in their battle to beat the drop.

They now have a free weekend before visiting mid-table Harbury for what promises to be a tasty encounter on November 19.

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