Claverdon edged out by Burbage

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Claverdon’s Jack Johnson makes a sprint towards the try line in the 26-17 defeat to Burbage. Photo: Will Barnes.

CLAVERDON missed the chance to close in on the Midlands Four West (South) promotion places after suffering a 26-17 reverse at fellow title hopefuls Burbage.

The defeat leaves fourth-placed Lions eight points behind second-placed Burbage, who have played a game less.

Claverdon sit a further two points behind league leaders Old Wheatleyans, who also have a game in hand.

Burbage started the better of the two teams and after winning a midfield penalty, they kick towards the corner and their bigger pack set up a maul which stormed their way over the try line after just five minutes.

Following the early try, Claverdon soon switched on, with Harry Nathan and Tom Johnson combining well.

More hard running from Ross Pollard and Steve Grimsley put the Lions on the front foot, only for a penalty to halt their progress.

Burbage then increased their lead to 12-0 when a missed tackle allowed their forward to crash over close to the posts.

With Claverdon finally keeping the ball, they showed what they could do by dragging Burbage all over the pitch.

First Jack Johnson tried to go for the line only to be shut out before Harvey Skinner was also stopped in his tracks.

However, Claverdon’s pressure was rewarded when skipper James Barton crossed the whitewash for 12-7.

Claverdon knew they had to keep the pressure on and they closed the gap to two points when Sam Turrell successfully kicked over a penalty.

Burbage extended their lead not long after the interval after being camped on the Claverdon line for quite some time.

Strong defensive work from James Kirby and James Williams kept several Burbage attempts out, however, tired defence left a hole for Burbage to crash over for 19-10.

Claverdon bagged their final score from a rushing defence forcing the knock-on from the Burbage backs.

Alex Holden collected the ball and booted it for Gibney to chase.

As Gibney closed in, the referee deemed that he was taken without the ball and awarded a penalty try to Claverdon to bring the score to 19-17.

With time running out and Claverdon’s hope to go second in the league slipping away, it was Burbage who had the final say.

Keeping hold of the ball, Burbage spread the Claverdon defence and collected their bonus point try.

Good ball retention allowed them to draw in the Claverdon pack and score through their backs in the open defence to complete the scoring at 26-17.