Edited article from Dave Fox
Clifton Rugby went away to local side Thornbury RFC to fight for a place in the semi-final of the Wadworths 6X Bristol Commination Cup. The last time these two clubs matched up in the cup, Thornbury caused upset as they took home the spoils.
With nine players making their debut for Clifton 1st XV it was always going to be a shaky start as players settled into the game. Thornbury hit with the first blow as they saw a well worked try slip through the defence of Clifton and saw Jake Wood of Thornbury take the first try of the match.
Clifton’s defence tightened and the lavender and black side snubbed any efforts. Then from a dominant scrum Clifton. Skipper Sam Harrison broke through a tackle in midfield and had the pace to run in and score out wide. He then converted his try to tie the score.
Then Clifton took the lead when after defending a many-phased attack a gap appeared and lock Francesco Albasini ran in for the try. Harrison converted then five minutes later added the extras to a try from wing Alex Hall as the defence had become too narrow repelling Clifton and he exploited the space out wide. Clifton led 21-7.
Three minutes before half time Thorns thought they had scored again. Attacking in the Clifton ‘22’ Jake Wood stepped past one defender and sped away then kicked behind the Clifton defence. A defender covered and under pressure from Thornbury’s outside half tried to control the ball but he knocked it back over the goal line and fumbled it as he tried to ground it.
Thornbury started the second half well, attacking from the kick off. After some slick hands Jak Evans surged down the touchline, was half-tackled by a fine diving tackle from Rovery, and scored in the corner. It was an excellent team try and converted by Jake Wood from the touchline. Thorns trailed 21-14.
Mistakes cost Clifton the next 20 mins however defence remained strong. On the hour mark Thorns were awarded a penalty which Jake Wood slotted over for 21-17.
From the kick off Thornbury dropped the restart and gave Clifton good field position on the Thornbury ‘22’ to launch another attack. A kick behind the Thornbury defence bounced into the arms of wing Edgar Odum and he ran in for a simple try. Harrison converted to extend Clifton’s lead to 28-17.
With time running out the contest was put beyond doubt when fullback Bentley Halpin joined the line at a fine angle and raced in for an unconverted try. But Thornbury had the last word when Sam Poustie intercepted on halfway and won the race to the line for the final score. Jake Wood converted for 33-24.
Thorns tried to add to their score but Clifton were having none of it and held out to go into a semi-final tie with either Old Redcliffians or Hornets.
PHOTO: Rod Allsopp Photography
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Updated 18:01 - 25 Nov 2017 by Sam Harrison