Clifton U13's v Matson
On Sunday, 14 January 2018, Clifton under 13s travelled to Matson
On Sunday, 14 January 2018, Clifton under 13s travelled to Matson in Gloucestershire to play their second cup game in round two of the Gloucester cup competition. Clifton managed to get 13 players for the game, but unfortunately there were no substitutes to come on if any of those players became injured or tired. Matson had a very strong squad of 17 for their home cup game. Our talented coaches (James and Les) put the boys through their warm up and drills to make sure our boys were in superb form.
It was good to see Ben playing again after a long lay-off to recover from a nasty ankle injury. Charlie Matthews started at scrum half for the first half of the game then was replaced by Charlie Vaughan who was on the right wing.
Matson kicked off the game, which resulted in Clifton knocking on. At the scrum Matson applied constant pressure to Clifton’s try line for three minutes before going over and scoring the first points of the game.
Our fly half Tom restarted the game, which resulted in a knock on from Matson. Clifton’s superb scrum pushed back the Matson scrum with ease. Charlie Matthews quickly latched on and passed the ball out to Tom who quickly released Isaac in the centre. Isaac made significant ground into the opposition half before being half caught, but was able to twist his way out and go over for the first try for Clifton. For the next few plays, it is clear to see that both teams are equally matched and committed. There was some terrific tackling by Speedy, West and Jake. It looked as if this was going to be a classic test of both clubs’ wonderful abilities. The ever improving Clifton forwards dominate in the scrums and rucks and it was a real combined team effort with Rohan, Philip, Tom, Jacques, Max and Josh working for each other that they won good ball from scrums, rucks and mauls. The Matson backs are very quick to close down the space between them and the Clifton backs, sometimes a “little too quick” to be believed. Matson won a contested scrum and the ball was quickly passed down their backs to the winger who was brought down magnificently by our winger, Wesley.
In the ruck, Joshua’s height and strength enabled him to take the ball off the opponent, he passed to Max who brilliantly utilised a gap he spotted between the scrum and the backs to make precious metres. The game moved for Clifton and then Matson until a scrum was given to Matson for a knock-on by Clifton. Matson won their scrum and started to move the ball down their backs, but they suddenly switched the play to the blind side where one of the Matson players, who is as big as Joshua, went over for Matson’s second try of the game (2-1 to Matson). From the Clifton kick-off, the players quickly ran to chase down the ball and put pressure on Matson. Wes was harshly “judged” to have high tackled a Matson player. From the penalty Matson tried to run out of their own 22, but were caught in midfield and they knocked the ball forward. Clifton won the scrum, Charlie Matthews passed the ball to Tom who kicked it through for Isaac to kick on and score Clifton’s second try (2-2).
Matson kicked off and tried to apply real pressure on Clifton to get back into the lead. Clifton had a good period of play where the forwards and backs worked remarkably well together. In particular, Rohan, Ben and Phil all linked up well with Tom, Isaac, Speedy, Charlie and Wes. Clifton won a scrum where Charlie Matthews whipped out the ball to Tom who passed to Isaac who passed it to Speedy who found a gap in the Matson defence to score Clifton’s third try. This is the first time that Clifton had taken the lead (3-2 to Clifton). Just before half time Clifton was applying tremendous pressure on the Matson defence, which resulted in Philip charging through but being brought down taking a knock to his head.
Ben’s ankle also started to feel sore but he continued bravely to play on throughout the match.
The second half started with a Clifton kick-off and was immediately knocked on by a Matson player. Clifton won the subsequent scrum. The new scrum half Charlie Vaughan passed the ball down through the backs where a maul developed. Josh was able to secure the ball and then ran through the Matson defence for 20 metres in order to score Clifton’s fourth try (2-4 to Clifton). Josh, in the process handed off three of the Matson players. Matson then kicked off and applied great pressure, but the ball was secured by Clifton who passed it down the line to Wes who then passed it on to Speedy who got tackled, but Clifton secured the ball and passed it down to the other wing where Wes switched who got tackled, but because he was isolated Matson was able to secure the ball and counter-attack. Matson secured a scrum from a knock-on from Clifton, which they won. They passed the ball down their line, but Clifton applied pressure to the Matson offence. Matson try to relieve the pressure by kicking the ball, which Jake brilliantly anticipated and tried to counter-attack, but was caught by one of the quicker Matson players (who looked to have been in an offside position). This resulted in a loose ball, which Matson collected and scored their third try (3-4 to Clifton).
From the Clifton kick off Matson knocked on and Clifton won their scrum. It was a good drive by the pack with the second row of Jacques, Max and the No 8 Josh, pushing back the Matson scrum. Charlie Vaughan passed the ball out to fly half Tom who misses out the centres Isaac and Speedy and passed the ball to the winger Charlie Matthews. Charlie got tacked but the ball got recycled. Tom picks up the ball and passes it out to Jacques who cuts inside, but is then tackled. The referee blows for the ball being out of play. Matson tried to play the ball out from their 22, but strong pressure from Clifton caused them to knock the ball on. Clifton won the scrum. Charlie Vaughan passed the ball out to Tom. Tom switched the play and the ball was passed to Wes who sprinted down the line to score Clifton’s fifth try (3-5 to Clifton).
Matson re-started the game and attacked the Clifton half, but Clifton held firm with a great tackle made by Speedy and Isaac and managed to counter-attack. The ball went out of play, Matson kicked the ball from their 22 to Jake our talented full back. A maul was formed where Josh’s superior skills ripped the ball out from the Matson player and he was able to run 20 yards down the pitch before offloading to Isaac who had a clear run to the try line for his third and Clifton’s sixth try (3-6 to Clifton).
Matson restarted but the ball went straight out into touch and Clifton elected for a scrum, but this time Matson got an early push on and nicked the ball from Clifton. They were able to release the ball to one of their bigger players who offloaded it to a winger who ran down the side-line to score their fourth try (4-6 to Clifton).
By this time the game was so intense that I forgot how or who scored the next tries for Clifton and Matson but the score was 5-7 to Clifton with seven minutes remaining.
Matson kicked off and applied huge pressure on Clifton’s defence. There was some fantastic tackling, especially by Wes, Speedy, Jake and Isaac and some heroic defending by the pack. Unfortunately Josh “received a boot” to his head, which caused him to leave the field. From the resulting scrum where the pack was reduced to five players, as opposed to Matson’s six player pack, not surprisingly Matson won the scrum and from that they scored a try (6-7) to Clifton.
Clifton re-started and kicked the ball deep into the Matson’s 22, received by a Matson and ran in down the right wing scoring their 7th try (7-7).
Clifton kicked off again and Matson quickly counter-attacked taking full advantage of the extra man they had on the pitch.
There was another try, with a dubious touch down. Clifton were now losing 8-7. Then came a final try by Matson who now lead 9-7. In the final two minutes of play Clifton were able to score a moral boosting final try of the game by Isaac making a tremendous run from Tom’s restart kick but this resulted in the match being won by Matson 9 tries to 8.
A great effort from the 13 boys who made the journey to Matson.
By Jacques Plessier U13