22nd Oct, 2019

Lions rise to third after crushing away win

Stratford Editorial 20th Nov, 2018 Updated: 20th Nov, 2018

Coventrians 3 Claverdon 47

Midlands Four West (South)

CLAVERDON climbed into third place – albeit 15 points behind current runaway top two Old Wheatleyans and Burbage – thanks to a resounding victory in Coventry.

The trip over to Coventrians has often played into the hands of the home side, with the Lions often struggling to perform at The Black Pad.

However, the plan for the visitors was to play sensible, aggressive rugby which is what captain James Barton and coach Jimbo Williams knew had to be the case having lost at this venue in the past.

The visitors took the lead when Tom Johnson, finding himself at full-back for the first time this season, showed his strength and pace by returning the ball back with interest. Ball retention kept Claverdon pinned in the opposition half and their first score came courtesy of new centre Al Holden.

Claverdon set up a driving maul following a deep penalty kick into the Coventrians 22 and, after an initial surge forward, the maul slowed which allowed Lawton to find Holden coming in at pace to crash over and score next to the post, allowing an easy conversion for Williams.

Aggressive rucking from Grimsley, Green and Haynes then gave Lawton clean ball which was fed to Williams who threw a flat pass to Barton, sending the latter between the covering defence to slide over, with Williams adding the extra.

Continuing to apply pressure, Claverdon’s back line showed what they can do with ball in hand. With good clean rucking from the pack, the backs pulled the defence left to right which spread the defence and Johnson crashed through two defenders following a slick back move, allowing him to carry on unopposed to go under the posts for 21-0.

The hosts scored a penalty but it was 28-3 by the break after extra weight from Williams and Holden saw the ten-man Lions maul rumble over.

The second half saw Claverdon playing up the hill and this started to show with Coventrians applying pressure all over the park. Suddenly pinned on the 5m line facing a scrum, the bigger Coventrians pack dug their studs in and charged forward in search of a score.

However, as the bigger pack marched over the line, a well-timed tackle from Lawton caused the Coventrians number 8 to knock-on over the line.

Eventually Claverdon cleared their lines and managed to set up in the Coventrians half. After more evasive running from Harry Nathan and support from the backs, Williams found himself weave between a couple of retreating forwards to go under the posts and make it 35-3.

Coventrians continued the pressure by spreading the ball across the park and their winger found himself on his way to the corner, only to be denied by a huge covering tackle from Johnson which sent him into touch.

After several phases Claverdon broke through and Barton found himself one-on-one with the Coventrians captain. Showing he still has some pace, he coasted around him to go under the posts.

The 50-point mark never came, but Claverdon finished with an eighth try when hard running and rucking from the Claverdon pack allowed Lawton to snipe around the blind side to score his first try of the season, although Williams failed to keep his 100 per cent record by pushing the kick wide.

The Lions return to league action at home to Hereford side Greyhound on December 1.

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