Bumper crowd inspires Claverdon on derby day

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Tom Johnson under pressure from Harbury (in red). Photo: Will Barnes

A BUMPER crowd of 250 watched on as Claverdon secured a 43-3 victory over Harbury – the perfect result to long-serving president Basil Sayer on his way as he steps down at the end of the season.

The game started strongly from both sides as they moved the ball around the park and kept good possession.

Claverdon started to take advantage of proceedings, spending a lot of time in the Harbury half, only to allow them to clear their lines after conceding a number of penalties.

Claverdon’s James Williams (in blue) sprints through the Harbury opposition. Photo: Will Barnes

Continued ill-discipline allowed Harbury to work their way into the Claverdon half, but solid defence from Ed Smith and Ross Pollard forced the error. With Claverdon dominating the scrum for the entire game they were able to easily clear from their half.

It took 35 minutes for the scoreboard to eventually turn. A wide pass intercepted by James Williams saw the fly half shuffle clear and under the posts for 7-0.

Knowing the short amount of time left in the half, Claverdon cleared long from the restart to keep out of their half. More strong defence kept Harbury pinned back and Claverdon soon earned themselves a penalty in front of the sticks 10-0

A low scoring, yet fast-paced first half gave the spectators an exciting watch in the sun.

The team chat was to calm everything down and be more clinical. Now with the slightly hill advantage, Claverdon knew they could turn it up a gear.

With fresh legs on it was Claverdon who took advantage from the off. Williams’ restart bouncing deep into touch and the ball was offloaded to Luke Rogers to cross the whitewash for 17-0.

With the restart collected by James Kirby, the flanker cut back in field. Smith sent the ball wide to Alex Holden who found himself punching a hole in the centre to put Claverdon into the Harbury half. Strong carries from Nick Green and Colin Marklew kept Claverdon on the front foot. Applying more pressure, Matthew Dunster found himself cutting through the defence. Tom Johnson was next on the sheet after collecting a looping pass that stunned the defence to go over untouched for 24-0.

Claverdon captain James Barton (in blue) leads the attack. Photo: Will Barnes

Good ball retention had carries from John Grey and Sam Turrell once again which put Claverdon on the front foot. Rogers was to get the Lions bonus point, another excellent carry, showing speed and strength to secure his 15th try of the season.

A long restart and good pressure forced Claverdon to concede a penalty in front of their posts, giving Harbury their only points of the game.

With time ticking away the fatigue showed in the Harbury defence. Williams found himself bursting through a hole from an offload off Green. He was brought down and held up over the line by the Harbury full back. Another dominant scrum from Claverdon allowed James Barton to go over close to the posts for 36-3.

From the restart Harvey Skinner surprisingly found himself in acres of space after bouncing off a tackle. Putting boot to ball, the chase applied pressure in the Harbury half. Turning the ball over quickly through the backs allowed James Gibney to dance his was around the final defender to score out wide. With the wide conversion and final whistle to come 250 spectators watched on as Calmly Williams slotted the kick to complete the scoring at 43-3.