8th Dec, 2016

Lions win scrappy encounter to keep top two hopes alive

Liam Moakes 23rd Mar, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

Claverdon 11 Coventry Welsh 7

Midlands Four West (South)

THERE may have been a hangover of sorts following their Warwickshire Cup final defeat of the previous weekend, but the Lions did enough on their return to Ossetts Hole Lane to secure a valuable victory in the battle for promotion.

Having lost to Coventry Welsh earlier in the campaign, Claverdon were relishing being back on home turf against tough opposition.

The Lions, still fielding a strong squad despite 30 players being unavailable from the previous weekend (not including those already out injured), needed to start the game on the front foot.

This they did and David Parkes, stepping in at number ten, slotted over his first penalty of the afternoon from in front of the uprights.

The game was a scrappy affair to say the least. With the number of scrums in the game, it was easy to think it was early January given the number of handling errors on both sides and the distinct lack of fluidity in the game.

Claverdon did, however, dominate the early set pieces as they won ball against the head at both scrum and lineout. Their superiority in these departments did not lead to points, however, and the unforced errors kept Coventry Welsh in the game.

Jack Johnson scored the first and Claverdon’s only try of the game with a typically clinical finish on the right wing.

Johnson, despite playing out of position, has had a fine first season with the club and is currently the leading try-scorer. Parkes missed the conversion from the touchline.

Welsh were let back into the game shortly afterwards through Claverdon’s ill-discipline and errors as their back row crashed over from a short tap penalty.

The conversion was added and the Lions’ lead was cut to 8-7 at half time.

The second half was not much better than the first but Claverdon registered the only score through the boot of Parkes.

Third placed Claverdon are two points behind second placed Upton-on-Severn with three matches remaining each, the first of which sees Upton visit rock-bottom Birmingham Civil Service on Saturday.

Claverdon’s next match is at Kings Norton on April 2 before a vice-presidents day fixture on April 9 at home to champions Manor Park.

Report compiled with the help of James Williams.