Harbury 12 Claverdon 38
Midlands Four West (South)
CLAVERDON regained the bragging rights from long-standing local rivals Harbury thanks to an impressive performance on the road.
With club captain James Barton out injured and consigned to being the author of this piece, James Kirby stepped up to lead the Lions.
With the wind blowing up the pitch, Claverdon decided to play with it in the first half. Harbury started the stronger of the two sides, keeping ball in hand and trying to break down the Claverdon defence.
However, the hosts were unable to break through the red and white wall, with big hits coming in from Jack Yates and centres Matthew Dunster and Alex Holden.
The ball was then shipped wide by the Harbury backs, only for man of the match James WillIams to read it like a book for the interception. The prop turned fly-half found the legs and, with a tailwind, was able to run clear and under the posts for the opening score before also making the conversion.
Big carries from Harvey Skinner and Steve Grimsley saw the Lions work their way deep into the Harbury half, only to give away a penalty at a crucial time, allowing Harbury to clear their lines.
After a clean lineout, the Harbury 12 put a kick in behind the defence which was not dealt with and, following up his own kick, a well-timed support line sent Harbury under the posts to make it 7-7.
Claverdon eventually got their hands on the ball again and hard yards from Tom Johnson and Harry Nathan took Claverdon into the Harbury 22. Aggressive forward play saw the Claverdon pack get closer and closer to the line but strong defence came from Harbury held them up.
From a 5m scrum, the Lions marched on with Skinner controlling at the back. A big surge forward sent the Harbury pack back over the line for Skinner to dot down and Williams’ conversion gave the visitors a 14-7 interval lead.
The second half began in dramatic fashion as both sides had a player sent off following the flaring of tempers, but crucially it was Claverdon who scored next when Sam Turrell’s clever dummy allowed Williams to keep hold of the ball and clear the full-back to finish off an excellent individual try converted by Turrell.
The outcome was put beyond doubt when Tom Johnson finished a simple two-on-one for a converted try and a penalty then extended their advantage to 31-7.
The visitors’ final try arrive with Williams again the architect as he worked his was through the defence before sending a floated pass to Jack Johnson to score another converted try.
Harbury had the final say with a try out wide but the visitors’ five-point win was already in the bag and the third-placed Lions now look forward to Saturday’s visit of Kings Norton.