Claverdon 22 Harbury 13
Midlands Four West (South)
IN 53 years of history, Claverdon have entertained vice-presidents twice yearly, with average attendances well over 100 for the four-course lunch before watching the 1st XV take the field.
However, new ground was broken on a sunny Saturday afternoon which saw 55 ladies attend the first ever ladies’ lunch and what a success it was.
Claverdon welcomed local rivals Harbury to Ossetts Hole Lane in the tail end of a season both clubs would like to forget.
Claverdon were keen to make amends for a one-point defeat in the reverse fixture and they opened the scoring before the ladies had even left their seats.
Ali Norman, enjoying a new role at number 8, powered over from close range but James Williams was unable to add the extras.
Claverdon’s intent was set out early with kickable penalties declined and the ball sent into the corner in the hope of scoring five.
The Harbury lineout, however, disrupted the ball all afternoon, making things difficult for the usually assured set piece.
Claverdon’s discipline was poor all afternoon and allowed Harbury to stay in contention with the boot as the visitors scored a penalty following persistent infringements.
James Barton then added to Claverdon’s try tally with a powerful surge through the middle to which Williams added the extras.
Harbury closed the gap with a second penalty which made the score 12-6.
In what was a very scrappy affair, the Lions enjoyed dominance at the scrum which gave a good platform to attack.
The heavier Claverdon pack wore down their lighter opponents and Norman shrugged off three defenders before touching down in the corner, although the touchline conversion was missed.
If the first half was scrappy, the second half was worse, with broken play and lots of handling errors, which was surprising in the near perfect conditions.
Alain ‘Safa’ Hammond added pace to the back row and came up with a smart finish when he burst between defenders to extend the lead to 16 points and secure the bonus point.
Harbury did score a consolation try late on but not before both Jack Yates and Marc Spencer were injured by their own team-mate in a maul in which ‘The Ox’ unfortunately broke his forearm.
Victory lifted the Lions above Harbury and into seventh place. Claverdon return to league action at bottom side Keresley on March 25.