Clifton beaten twice in two weeks against Lydney
Clifton fall to double loss against Lydney
After the disappointing result of the previous Saturday we made the short trip across the Severn to Lydney seeking revenge for the surprise defeat.
Sadly at no time did we look like turning over the home side as we slumped to a heavy against a side desperate to climb away from the hoot of the table and escape relegation and on the day had the run of the ball.
We were forced to make several changes due to unavailability and injury The good news was the return of Jack Hughes after three months out with a broken jaw. Mike cross made his first start of the season while Brian Watters and Rhys Luckwell graced the bench for the first time joining Ben Christie who warmed the bench last week Saturday for the first time.
There was a degree of unfamiliarity in the Clifton side in the opening stages and perhaps luck was on their side as the home side wasted a few scoring chances before the break only picking up a try bonus point in thr last minutes of the half.
Lydney enjoyed all the early pressure and there was touch of fortune in the first Lydney try as scrum half Eammon Rees pass to flanker appeared to be knocked on but the referee allowed play to continue and Rees jinked under the posts. Fly half Brad Barnes who graced a Clifton shirt last season kicked the first of his four tries.
Pressure was temporarily relieved when Cross ran the ball out of defence and made 70 metres before being brought to ground and the move died through lack of support. Atry scoring opportunity came shortly afterwards but Lydney with a man in the bin heeled against the head and a relieving kick stayed within the tramlines as made sixty metres.
After sixteen minutes the front row followed a kick ahead and prop Zen Szwagrzak claimed the try though hooker Mike Wallis thought he had touched down first, The try went unconverted,
We were still in the game but as half time approach two tries in three minutes sealed the result. We failed to gather a high kick by Barnes and winger Josh Hannan was first to the ball and claimed a try which was converted.
Next came the try of the game which started in the opposition half as Lydney ran the ball from deep in their own with the ball passing through several pairs of hands and created a three man overlap with centre John Rodgers applying the finishing touct. Barnes was again on target’but two tries.
I cannot imagine what was said in the dressing room at half time but we showed a distinct improvemet after the break,
Straightaway we set up siege on the home line and following a series drives hooker Paul Fincken went over with James Mackay adding the extras.
Barnes landed the first of two penalties to keep Lydney,s momentum going but we were certainly forcing Lydney onto the back foot.
Christie came off the bench early in the second half and made one impressive run which could have resulted in a score. Luckwell and Watters came off the bench and certainly looked more than useful additions to the squad.
Fergus Manners also came off the bench but his stay was short lived as a high tackle saw him depart to the bin.
Wallis was also sin binned for a siniliar offence and while he was off Lydney struggled at a seies of set scrums and eventually we were awarded a penalty try which Mackay converted.
Barnes kicked his second penalty which was followed by a rare period home pressure which ended with lock Charlie Danielli going over after a strong run from the twenty two and Barnes converted
We need to return to winning ways of we are to escape from the bottom half of the table.
We have arrived at the time in the season when the fate of clubs are decided. There are six games to play which the maximum number of points available to clubs is 24 plus bonus points.
Unless Henley suffer a dip in form they would appear to be odds on favourites for promotion with Dorking, Bishop Stortford and Taunton Titans battling it out for the play off spot The position will be clearer after this week end as Top entertains third and second entertains fourth. In the North it is a battle between Hull Ionians and Amphill for the top two places.
There are nine clubs who could still consider themselves at risk. Dings fate could be decided this afternoon while Shelford could know where they will be playing next season by the end of the month. Lydney, Canterbury, Southend , Clifton, Launceston . Redruthand Old Elthamians fate will be decided in the final weeks.