Bedworth 16 Claverdon 3
Midlands Four West (South)
CLAVERDON slipped to sixth place as they paid for missed opportunities in north Warwickshire on Saturday, writes Charlie Byrd.
In hindsight, the game was lost in the first ten minutes when, in fairness to Bedworth, they came out firing on all cylinders. A couple of missed tackles from Claverdon allowed Bedworth to break through and make some serious yards.
Claverdon’s ill-discipline in their own half allowed Bedworth to score an easy three points in the first couple of minutes in front of the sticks. This was quickly followed by another missed tackle from Claverdon which allowed Bedworth to break through and score in the corner.
Bedworth’s kicker slotted the conversion from the touchline to make it 10-0 and the lead was almost extended by another penalty which struck the post.
The Lions rallied midway through the first half as Chris Lowe led the way in his first game back in a Claverdon shirt this season with some aggressive and very effective running.
The scrum was also working well despite a temporary shortage of available props, so credit to Josh Smallwood, Steven Grimsley and Jack Yates who had a great game despite the pressure they were under.
On 30 minutes Claverdon were extremely unlucky not to score between the sticks when Luke Allsopp received the ball and popped back inside to Lowe who burst through the Bedworth defence.
With only one man to beat and captain Charlie Byrd on his shoulder, it would have almost certainly been a seven-pointer, only for the referee to call it back for a very borderline forward pass.
Not long later Claverdon had another opportunity with an attacking lineout on Bedworth’s 5m line. A neat lineout move saw Lowe receive the crash ball but it was knocked on in a situation which would have almost certainly been a try.
A lot of the game was determined by the referee’s zero tolerance on high tackles and Claverdon’s task was made a lot harder with centre Peter Barnett sin-binned for a high challenge.
A few minutes later winger Jamie Buckingham was chasing a James Williams kick deep into the Bedworth half when an accidental trailing arm caught the Bedworth full back high, resulting in a second yellow card for Claverdon who now had 13 men on the pitch.
In fairness to the referee he was consistent, as the Bedworth number 8 high-tackled a Claverdon player and received the same treatment.
Claverdon kept applying pressure and eventually got something to show for it with three points from the boot of Williams following a penalty against Bedworth.
On the stroke of half time Claverdon missed another opportunity to score with a penalty given to them 5m from the Bedworth line. With the absence of the Bedworth 8, Claverdon decided the scrum was the option and to go for the try.
The message was clear, look after the ball and they must score, but unfortunately for the visitors they were ushered into touch and half time was called.
The second half was a very tight affair with few opportunities and credit goes to Bedworth their rush defence was very organised and effective. Their back row also made it difficult with good clearing out at the ruck which slowed down Claverdon’s ball when it mattered.
Claverdon’s day went from bad to worse as key players Jack Johnson and James Barton suffered injuries and they are wished a speedy recovery.
Claverdon had a chance to close the gap following a decent half break from Ali Norman who popped the ball to captain Byrd who offloaded to James Kirby to make the break. Bedworth illegally won the ball which gave Claverdon the shot from distance but the ball drifted wide.
Bedworth then scored two more penalties to leave Claverdon empty-handed.
Lions skipper Byrd said: “Our effort can’t be questioned. However, there is a lot to work on and we need to be more clinical when we get chances if we want to compete in the top section of the league.
“This Saturday is a big one when we host Birmingham Civil Service on our infamous VPs day. This will be a big day for all involved on and off the pitch and it would be great to see as many people as possible there to support the boys.”