CLAVERDON warmed up for Sunday’s exciting Warwickshire Cup semi-final by continuing their promotion push with a 37-15 win at home to Redditch.
Tries from Ali Norman, Chris Glover, man of the match Luke Rogers, Sam Turrell, James Gibney and Will Lawton wrapped up the bonus-point victory at Ossetts Hole Lane to keep the Lions third in the Midlands Four West (South) table, but only five points behind top two Burbage and Old Wheatleyans.
On Sunday, Claverdon meet Old Wheatleyans in the cup semi-final at Berkswell & Balsall, kick off 2.15pm, with the Lions hoping to avenge a league defeat in the first game of the season.
Last weekend, Claverdon started with a bang to score an early try against basement side Redditch. A penalty was booted into the corner and Steve Grimsley found Harvey Skinner at the top of the lineout before the pack set up the maul and Norman, steering at the back, went over to open a 5-0 lead.
Redditch piled on the pressure from the restart and quickly levelled the score as a couple of missed tackles enabled the visitors to go over wide out.
Redditch knew keeping ball in hand was key and they did exactly that with their bigger pack to push Claverdon on to the back foot. With Claverdon conceding several penalties, the Redditch number 10 knocked over his kick to put them 8-5 ahead.
Several changes of possession made for an interesting end-to-end match for the spectators. Claverdon soon went ahead through Rogers who, after hard carries from Josh Smallwood and Glover, rampaged through several Redditch players to score another excellent individual try.
Both sides ended the first half with 14 men after handbags flared and Skinner and the Redditch No 7 found themselves taking a ten-minute break, but Claverdon added to their lead with a James Williams penalty going through the uprights from in front for a 13-8 half-time lead.
Claverdon knew they had to keep the penalties down to a minimum and work harder on their own ball if they were to win this game.
Rogers once again showed his pace burst down the wing to beat the covering defence and go under the posts to push the hosts 20-8 in front.
With both teams back to a full complement, Claverdon continued to up the tempo. Matthew Dunster ghosted through the Redditch line and drew the full-back to give Turrell the easy run-in to secure the bonus point at 25-8.
Redditch soon fired back with a converted try through their forwards from a maul after a penalty was booted into the corner to cut the deficit to 25-15.
However, any comeback was quickly ended with another home try. Working the ball from left to right, then back again, Gibney found himself with ball in hand and weaved through the covering defence to score just outside of the posts.
With less than ten minutes left, Claverdon’s wide play was again rewarded when Harry Nathan showed his lighting pace to put Claverdon deep into the Redditch half.
With the ball then shipped to the other side of the pitch through several pairs of hands, the forwards had their turn to draw the defence in and Lawton, barking orders at nine, spotted a gap to squeeze through and over the line.