13th Dec, 2019

Lions do enough in testing conditions

Stratford Editorial 12th Nov, 2019

Claverdon 10 Coventrians 5

Midlands Four West (South)

THE LIONS fought out a gritty victory in the cold and rain on Saturday.

Claverdon received the kick-off and tidied up as Sam Turrell cleared the lines up to the halfway line. Coventrians’ tidy lineout saw them feed a hard-running forward to the centre field but solid defence from James Williams and Josh Smallwood forced the penalty, allowing the Lions to move up the pitch.

Steve Grimsley found his man at the lineout and Claverdon mauled up the field. Jack Johnson then fed Williams who pushed the ball through the backs to wide man James Gibney who was brought down into touch in the corner. Coventrians with a tidy line out cleared their lines.

With a wet muddy ball, the match saw a high number of scrums and a solid front three performance from both sides saw evenly match scrums all day.

The last ten minutes of the first half saw Coventrians pile on the pressure through their bigger pack and hard-running centre. Claverdon soon crumbled under the pressure and conceded a penalty just wide of the posts but, with terrible conditions in the air and underfoot, the Coventrians fly half hit the posts with the kick.

The ball fell into Turrell’s hands and the centre cleared for the half-time whistle with no score on the board from either side.

Williams started the second half with a deep kick into the Coventrians half, making them play out with the rain in their faces.

From a Coventrians lineout they shipped the ball through the backs, only for the ball to be dropped by the centre. Quick thinking saw Williams put boot to ball and race for the line but, having crossed the line, Williams was denied for not having control of the ball.

From Coventrians’ 5m scrum, the home engine room of Nick Green and Scott Alford caused a slight wheel in the scrum with caused problems for the Coventrians number 8.

As he tried offloading to the scrum half, quick reactions from James Barton saw him turn the ball over. Following the turnover, Alex Haynes picked the ball up from the back of the ruck to bury his way through for the first score of the game which was converted.

Much of the second half was played in the centre of the field with both teams attacking and defending with great determination and neither gaining much advantage over the other.

Claverdon did increase their lead following a couple of penalties that allowed them to work their way upfield. In the 22 Claverdon looked to attack but were halted by a strong defence.

However, Claverdon did get three points as the Coventrians back line were deemed offside.

With ten minutes to play, Coventrians threw everything at Claverdon. After several phases and good ball retention, Coventrians were awarded a penalty in which they kicked into the corner.

Following a strong maul, their forwards knew it was their time to score and after several picks from the ruck they found themselves over the Claverdon line.

However, with the weather playing its part and the ball being dropped all over the field, it was eventually knocked on by a Claverdon player and with this the final whistle blew.

The mid-table Lions visit Coventry side Dunlop on Saturday.

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