Wanderers Back On Track With Impromptu Win Against Dings Knights
Wanderers 22 - 10 Dings Knights
After a cry-off midweek by UBH Medics some hasty phone calls were made to local rivals Dings Knights who, like the Wanderers were keen just to get a game on after several weeks of let downs by other sides and who agreed to visit Station Rd for the second time.
Uncharacteristically Dings arrived without a viable front row and the game started with uncontested scrums.
Clifton started well and within 4mins had already notched up their first try through stand-in fly-half Jack Watters who broke free after a period of sustained possession had carried the home side into Dings' half.
Dings appeared shell shocked at the ferocity of the Wanderers start and again appeared incapable of coping with the pace at which Clifton launched at them again, so much so that they found themselves two scores down just minutes later as top try-scorer Mike Cross clinically finished a move out wide.
Winger Allen Williams converted his second of the afternoon to take Clifton 14 points clear after just 12 minutes.
Despite the momentum of the first quarter the game slowed significantly and neither side appeared to grasp any form of structure.
It wasn’t until Clifton secured a line-out 10 metres out from the Dings line that No.8 Mike Barber capitalised on a good line-out drive and crash over to give the home side a 19-0 lead.
Dings clawed their way back into the half, but their frustrations were added to after they went a man down in the pack following a yellow card for illegal work at the breakdown.
With some assistance from the penalty count Dings used what possession they had to kick well into the Clifton corners to peg the home side back.
A loose pass from Clifton whilst trying to clear their lines gifted Dings a score just before the break and ex-Clifton player Sheldon Stevens wearing the 10 shirt for the visitors pounced on the opportunity to go over.
Dings started the second half a changed side repeatedly look to play a more expansive game and ask questions of the Clifton defence, which were rewarded when their scrum-half tapped and went himself from a penalty just inside the black and lavender 22.
Unable to convert the extras the score stood at 19-10, but with Dings very much in the ascendancy and equally buoyed the Referee’s decision to send Barber this time to the bin.
Despite going down to 14 men Clifton’s defensive resolve stood firm and wave after wave of Dings attacks either broke down due to handling errors or were turned over.
Eventually as the half wore on the home side battled their way out of their half and steadily worked their way into the Dings 22 hoping for a chance to kill off the game.
Finally, it came when Dings were deemed to have encroached off side at the breakdown and Williams was offered the posts. The kick sailed neatly between the uprights and the Wanderers found themselves 12 points clear with less than five remaining minutes to see out.
Final score 22-10
A friendly, but a Clifton v Dings ‘friendly’ to be sure and despite being uncontested at the scrum this game incorporated everything we’ve come to expect of it.
Albeit an unofficial ‘double’ over Dings, the game adds new emphasis and context to the league fixture in 2 weeks’ time in which Clifton travel to Landseer Avenue for the first time this season.The win also puts the Clifton side back on track after the disappointment of the narrow league defeat to Drybrook in January.
Next week the Wanderers play host to Cinderford Stags who will not only be targeting second place spot in the league standings, but seeking to avenge their loss to Clifton at Dockham Road in November.
All spectators welcome.