Lions roar past Harbury on VP’s day

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Claverdon skipper James Barton. Photo: Will Barnes

RUGBY UNION

Midlands Four West (South)
Claverdon 40-0 Harbury

CLAVERDON’S first VP’s day under the presidency of Elizabeth Kelsey could not have gone any better, as they trashed local rivals Harbury 40-0 on Saturday.

Prior to the game, a minute’s silence was held in memory of Roy Gardner, a long-serving member of Claverdon.

The Lions kicked off playing up the hill, knowing they would be in for a hard first half, especially with the high number of scrums due to the wet and muddy ball.

With the first scrum going to Harbury, Claverdon’s front row of Chris Glover, Steve Grimsley and Tom Hudson applied the pressure and in return won the penalty.

The resulting penalty was kicked into the corner and with Grimsley finding Ben Webster, it was Claverdon’s turn to set their platform.

Claverdon’s Matt Dunster makes the pass. Photo: Will Barnes

After a strong drive and several picks around the ruck, it was Ed Smith who found himself burying his was over the line for a converted score.

From the kick-off, Claverdon were able to turn the ball over in the centre and hard running from Nick Green put the hosts on the front foot.

Quick thinking from Jack Johnson saw the scrum half break blind and a pop to Barton put the No.8 on the attack.

The simple pass to James Gibney put him through for a try, but the pass was deemed forward and the Lions were brought back for a scrum.

After more defensive pressure Claverdon once again found themselves in the Harbury half due to another penalty being kicked into the corner.

Grimsley found Barton at the top of the line-out before the ball was shipped out to Hudson who carried two defenders over the line to bag Claverdon’s second converted try.

From the restart Claverdon kept the ball in hand and once again pushed deep into Harbury territory.

With a dominant scrum on the Harbury 10m line following a knock-on, Barton made a break and the simple offload allowed Johnson to sprint to the corner and put Claverdon 19-0 up.

Ed Smith scored two tries for Claverdon. Photo: Will Barnes

With half-time approaching, Claverdon bagged the bonus-point try when the ball was passed through several hands before making its way to Smith, who crashed over for his second of the day to give the Lions a 26-0 lead at the break.

After the restart Harbury came flying out the gates and enjoyed the majority of possession for 30 minutes, however, Claverdon’s stern defence kept them at bay.

Back on the attack, Claverdon got their fifth try of the afternoon when Johnson dived over the line for 33-0.

With less than five minutes remaining, there was still time for the Lions to score once more.

A scrum on the Harbury 5m line was turned over and Barton picked up the ball and popped it to Johnson who faded wide and made a simple switch to Tommy Williams to run through the gap and score.

Following the conversion, the full-time whistle blew and the crowd of more than 100 erupted into cheers.