Upton-on-Severn 18 Claverdon 24
Midlands Four West (South)
CAPTAIN James Williams, the villain when Claverdon lost to Upton in September, was the hero in Saturday’s dramatic return match after scoring a late try.
Williams’ missed penalty cost Claverdon victory at Ossetts Hole Lane in an 8-7 defeat, but revenge was sweet when he charged over for a match-winning try.
With Upton’s pitch under water, the game was relocated to the home of Worcester Wanderers in the shadows of Sixways and Upton led 10-0 early on and then 18-17 with five minutes left.
Williams found himself in front of the Upton prop. Beating the first defender and slipping the covering tackle, he raced through the defence to score before adding the conversion to seal a win which puts the third placed Lions one point behind second placed Upton.
Claverdon started the game poorly and were not in the contest for the first 20 minutes. Dropping off tackles and a poor workrate let Upton get off to a flying start with two unconverted tries, both scored in similar fashion on the left wing, to lead 10-0.
The only joy for Claverdon came from the lineout, disrupting the Upton ball and enjoying good possession on their own ball.
Following a number of penalties which were kicked to the corner, Claverdon opted to take the three points on offer. The kick, however, missed to the right of the posts.
The Lions were unfortunate not to score their first points when held up over the line, but from the resulting scrum a cut-out pass to Tim Westmacott allowed him to crash through the tackles and stretch to score by the posts. Williams added the extras.
Claverdon were unlucky not to score again very shortly afterwards. Spotting the winger and full back out of position, Williams kicked to the opposite flank for Tom Johnson to chase and then dive over the line.
However, the referee, some 30 yards behind, gave a knock-on as he was unable to give the try.
Claverdon took the lead for the first time in the game shortly after the restart.
The Lions forced a knock-on and from the scrum, with the full back in the defensive line, Williams chipped for Westmacott to dive on the ball, scoring his second in quick succession. Williams duly added the conversion.
The following 20 minutes was a tense affair. Claverdon’s ill-discipline cost them nearly 70 metres in territory before a few quick phases and the defence stretched, allowing the Upton winger to score in the corner. Again, the conversion from the touchline was missed.
An exchange of penalties from either side had Upton leading 18-17 with less than ten minutes remaining.
A penalty from the ten-metre line for Claverdon saw Williams elect for the posts. On the range of his limits and in tricky conditions, the ball cannoned off the crossbar and back into play, with the Upton player knocking the ball on.
From the resulting scrum, Claverdon tried to drive over the line only to be stopped just short. From the second scrum the ball was turned over and Upton cleared.
With five minutes remaining, Claverdon threw caution to the wind, moved the ball wider more frequently and Williams reaped his reward.
On Saturday Claverdon face neighbours Alcester at Ossetts Hole Lane.