A RECORD number sat down to send long-standing Claverdon president Basil Sayer on his way and the Lions responded in style by defeating Harbury 43-3.
Sayer, who is stepping down at the end of the season, and Co watched a dominant home side see off their visitors, although the win was not enough to maintain the promotion aspirations of the fourth-placed Lions.
Both sides made bright starts before Claverdon began to dominate, but they had to wait until the 35th minute to open the scoring when a wide pass was intercepted by James Williams and the fly-half burst between the posts for a converted try.
Knowing the short amount of time left in the half, Claverdon cleared long from the restart to keep out of their half. More strong defence kept Harbury pinned back and Claverdon soon earned themselves a penalty in front of the sticks for 10-0.
A low-scoring yet fast-paced first half had given the spectators an exciting watch in the sun. The Lions’ half-time team chat was to calm everything down and be more clinical and, with the slight hill advantage, Claverdon knew they could turn it up a gear.
With fresh legs on, it was Claverdon who took advantage from the off. Williams’ restart bounced deep into touch and the Claverdon captain at full stretch stole the Harbury lineout.
A gentle tap to Smith saw the scrum half move forward before offloading to Luke Rogers and the try-machine went over inside a minute for 17-0.
With the restart collected by James Kirby, the flanker cut back infield. Smith sent the ball wide and Alex Holden found himself punching a hole in the centre, putting Claverdon into the Harbury half.
Strong carries from Nick Green and Colin Marklew kept Claverdon on the front foot. Applying more pressure, Matthew Dunster found himself cutting through the defence and Tom Johnson was next on the scoresheet after collecting a looping pass which stunned the defence to go over untouched for 24-0.
Good ball retention and carries from John Grey and Sam Turrell once again put Claverdon on the front foot and flanker Rogers secured the bonus point with another excellent carry when he showed speed and strength in scoring his 15th try of the season for 29-0.
A long restart and good pressure forced Claverdon to concede a penalty in front of their posts and yielded Harbury’s only points from a penalty kick.
With time ticking away, fatigue showed in the Harbury defence and Williams found himself bursting through a hole from an offload from Green. Running 40 metres, he was brought down and held up over the line by the Harbury full back.
However, another dominant scrum from Claverdon allowed James Barton to pick from eight and a strong hand-off allowed him to go over close to the posts for 36-3.
The restart was taken by Harvey Skinner who surprisingly found himself in acres of space after bouncing off a tackle. Putting boot to ball, the chase applied pressure in the Harbury half.
Turning the ball over, quick hands through the backs allowed James Gibney to dance his was around the final defender to score out wide. With the wide conversion and final whistle to come, 250 spectators watched as Williams calmly slotted over the kick.
Claverdon travel to Kings Norton on Saturday seeking a 14th win from 19 Midlands Four West (South) matches.