Claverdon 11 Bromyard 8
Midlands Four West (South)
CLAVERDON maintained their slim promotion hopes with a hard-fought victory achieved despite having to play numerous players out of position.
Having lost earlier in the season at Bromyard, Claverdon knew they faced a tough afternoon. Winning the toss, Claverdon faced the slight hill for the first half and revived the kick.
Knowing they had to stay out of their half, the plan was to play out. After three quick penalties from Bromyard, Claverdon were able to achieve this.
Using the boot of Sam Turrell, the Lions were soon applying pressure. Carries from Tom Hudson and Chris Glover put Clav deep in the Bromyard 22 and further penalties soon led to a yellow card and three points to the hosts.
Now down to 14 men, Bromyard soon upped their tempo knowing they had to keep hold of the ball while they were a man down. Solid defence from Matt Dunster and the rest of the pack kept wave after wave of attacks at bay and, after soaking up the pressure, Claverdon soon forced the knock-on and were able to clear.
Ben Webster was causing chaos at the Bromyard lineout, resulting in several steals and mistakes, handing the ball back to the home side. Stand-in fly-half Mike Jay showed his all-round ability to link up with the back line and Tom Johnson found himself cutting through a gap to put Clav on the front foot once again.
With the Bromyard defence now stretched, Jay soon put captain and author of this piece James Barton through a hole for a free run-in. However, the skipper was brought back due to the final pass drifting forward.
Solid scrums from both packs gave a good contest for the 80 minutes. With Bromyard securing their own ball, they kicked deep into the Clav half and after a fast and physical first half Clav saw out the clock to the half-time whistle.
In the second half Claverdon once again started the brighter of the two sides and new recruit Hilton G-Jones showed his fast feet by dancing down the touchline. Linking up with Joe Turrell, the young lads gave Clav the advantage.
The Lions were awarded another penalty centre-field after a high tackle and Turrell stepped up for the long-range kick, but narrowly pushed it wide.
Moments later Clav were awarded a penalty in a very similar spot. Barton opted for the corner this time and Turrell redeemed himself with an inch-perfect kick.
Steve Girmsley found Webster once again and, popped to Johnson, the scrum-half showed his pace and vision to scurry through the two packs and make it 8-0.
It was now Bromyard’s turn once more and, having kept hold of the ball for much of 20 minutes, they came away with five points. Strong carries through their bigger forwards began to draw in the Clav defence and, after the hosts fell short on one side, the Bromyard back line pushed the ball through the hands to score in the corner.
With their tails now up, Bromyard continued to apply pressure and were soon awarded a penalty in front of the sticks to which the Bromyard fly-half took the three points to make it 8-8.
From the restart Clav knew time was running out and that anything within kicking range would be helpful. Keeping their discipline, the hosts defended smartly and a strong carry from Luke Rogers after an individual turnover gave Claverdon territory.
After a fast-paced attack from replacement James Williams, Bromyard were soon scattered across the pitch and a final penalty occurring at a ruck gave Claverdon the opportunity of the win. Up stepped Williams to split the posts and put the home side 11-8 up.
With a few minutes left on the clock, Claverdon knew they just needed to keep Bromyard pinned in their half and they did just that as the Lions’ defence held firm.