“Winners win babs.”
Clifton Rugby vs Barnstaple RFC
National League 2 South
Saturday 27th January 2018 - KO 2.30pm
A grey drizzle welcomed both teams to a crucial match; league position and the John Budd Cup at stake.
Early exchanged penalties and lineouts dominated as the teams probed each other's defences. Continued pressure and cross field play led to a Newey try in the corner converted by Barnes after 10 minutes (7-0).
Further sustained pressure led to winger Roberts' unconverted try (12-0) 10 minutes later.
The second quarter was characterised by stoic defending from Clifton from unrelenting attack. Breakaways led to several chances to add to the score only to be foiled by handing errors in the conditions.
A penalty and yellow card for in added time led to a Clifton 5m attacking scrum - yet despite 5 minutes of tussle the extended half finished with the score unmoved (12-0).
The match resumed with Barnstaple looking bright, the home side defended well and earned an attacking lineout close to the visitor's line. The resulting catch and drive delivered an unconverted try for Woodward (17-0).
Clifton's character was demonstrated by dogged defence which took 20 minutes for Barnstaple to crack with a drive over the line and a Mason try converted by Parks (17-7).
A home yellow card led to a lineout and drive for Barnstaple the unconverted try was again scored by Hayler (17-12) on 66 minutes.
Undeterred, the boys in Lavender and Black pushed on and earned a bonus point try under the posts courtesy of English which was duly converted by Barnes.
The last 5 minutes was frenetic with both sides set on playing rugby.
Even with Clifton restored to 15 men it wasn't enough to prevent a third try by Tops, converted by Parks (24-19).
Clifton's line remained unbreached into added time for a welcome 5 points at home. Barnstaple survived a last second penalty attempt to leave with a losing bonus point.
Clifton Rugby 24 Barnstaple RFC 19
Tries: Newey 10, Roberts 11, Woodward 48, English 68
Conversions: Barnes 12, 68
Drop Goals: NA
Tries: Hayler 59, Hayler 64, Topps 78
Conversions: Parks 64, 78
Drop Goals: NA
Referee: Benjamin Russell
Star Man: Max Woodward
CLIFTON RUGBY: Levesley, Clark, Newey, Wells, Roberts, Barnes, Spencer, Booley, Williams, English, Hall, Hill, Luckwell, Woodward, Chesters
Replacements: Rowland, Stephenson, To'ala, Pomphrey, Harrison
BARNSTAPLE: Petherbridge, Topps, Murphy, Carter, Speare, Parks, Bath, Southworth, Mynett, Dugard, Mason, Hague, Hayley, James, Evans
Updated 21:41 - 2 Feb 2018 by Roger Bealing
Replacements: Drew, Lloyd, Lee, Bayet, Berry