HERALD photographer Mark Williamson covered Claverdon’s Midlands 4 West (South) clash against Bedworth on Saturday.
Bedworth’s dominant front row proved the difference as they secured a 10-7 victory at a muddy Ossetts Hole Lane.
Recent heavy rain of late and a double home game for Claverdon’s first and second team meant that the bottom pitch was always going to take a beating by one team or the other.
Little did Claverdon know this would play into Bedworth’s hands, as they travelled with an experienced and very strong pack, who were dominant in the set-piece.
On a day that was always going to create a lot of mistakes and a lot of scrums, Claverdon never really stood a chance.
In open play, Claverdon were the better side, making a lot more yards, turnovers and a much more potent backline than their opponents. The problem, however, was getting hold of the ball in the first place with Bedworth pushing Claverdon backwards in 90 per cent of the scrums.
The Lions’ defence was superb, with massive hits and countless turnovers coming from a multitude of players.
Claverdon did have the first opportunity winning a penalty in the Bedworth half, a clean line-out on the Bedworth five metre line led to Mikey Jay cutting a delicious line which split the Bedworth in half.
However, while diving for the line, the Bedworth scrum-half came out of nowhere and swung an arm, which dislodged the ball to save the try from being scored.
Luckily, Claverdon made the breakthrough a few minutes later with John Grey gathering the ball on the ten-metre line, he beat the first man and popped to Sam Turrel, who sped away from the Bedworth defence and with just the full-back to beat he cut inside and offloaded superbly to Jack Johnson in support to score under the posts. James Williams added the extras.
Just before half-time, Bedworth were on the march, multiple scrums near the Claverdon line were creating all sorts of pressure and forcing the Claverdon captain Charlie Byrd to pull out some of his best turnovers of the season to prevent the score.
But it was only a matter of time and eventually Bedworth pushed themselves over for the score.
The second half was as tight as the first, with very few chances for either team to score.
Claverdon’s defence was once again outstanding, but the lack of possession made it difficult for the home team to make any real inroads.
Bedworth won a penalty in front of the sticks, which proved to be the difference.
For the remainder of the game Claverdon gave it everything, but found it difficult to get any real possession in the right areas.
This was in no way to blame the front row, collectively the Claverdon scrum was far inferior to a very experienced and much bigger pack and in the conditions the result was only going to go one way.
Claverdon will look to bounce back this weekend against Birmingham Civil Service.