Clifton Secure Max Points in Bristol Derby
By Mike Barber
Pritchard gives Clifton 5 point win at Shaftesbury Park
CLIFTON were deserved winners in the Bristol derby, outscoring their Crusaders counterparts by four-tries to two at a packed Shaftesbury Park. The visitors gained revenge for their 17-11 defeat by Dings in September, and their one successful conversion attempt in the 76th minute denied the hosts of a losing bonus-point.
It was all Clifton in the first-half, but they were unable to make the most of their ample possession and territory. That was until centre Chris Levesley crossed on 30 minutes. Clifton continued to press hard in Defence, denying Dings playmakers Ben Bolster & Luke Arscott space and time until late in the first half, Dings wing Brad Doggett latched onto a neat chip in behind from Arscott to score on his home league debut and level things up at the break at 5-5.
Clifton continued to call the tune early in the second-half with flanker Chris Rovery going over on 42 minutes. Clifton's third try was a superb individual effort from former Dings scrum-half Mitch Spencer. The skipper spotted a gap on the short side and and shot off down the blindside, chipped over the covering defender, re-gathered and sprinted into the corner for a superb individual effort.
The momentum swung to the home side on the hour. Fly-half Ben Bolster slotted a penalty before diving into the corner to make it 15-13 on 70 minutes. Clifton seemed to be losing th edge, due in part to the massive defensive effort they had put in to nullify the Ding's ball carriers. But a try in the 75th minute from recent signing and former Cardiff RFC scrum-half Ross Pritchard, converted by full-back Thomas Francis, secured a famous win for the Lavender and Blacks.
Dings tries: Doggett 40, Bolster 70. Penalty: Bolster 60.
Clifton tries: Levesley 30, Rovery 42, Spencer 48, Pritchard 75. Conversion: Francis 76.
Dings Crusaders: Grattan; Doggett, Smith, Arscott, Tovey, Bolster, Plummer; Hall, Anderson, Challenger, Curry, Sheriff, Knight, Williams, Holcombe.
Replacements: Hawkesby, Lloyd, Nowell, Perry, Clark.
Clifton Rugby: Francis, Campbell, Levesley, Goatley, Lambert, Barnes, Spencer; Cano, Wheeler, Roberts, Harper, Hill, Williams, Rovery, Hill.
Replacements: Folkard, Edwards, Harrison, Pritchard, Halpen.
Referee: James Millner-Woodcock.