Worcester v Clifton
Hot in the cold
This 26-10 victory away at Worcester on Sunday was perhaps the most impressive of the season.
In truth there wasn’t an overwhelming sense of enthusiasm among some of the coaches and parents for this fixture.
Not only was there an early start with a long drive up the M5 in prospect, but being half-term we were a bit down on numbers - and the weather was bitter!
Add to that that Worcester’s senior team had beaten Saracens the day before putting Bristol in real danger of relegation, and some of us were feeling a bit grumpy on the trip up the road – especially our Welsh brethren.
Anyhow, well done Nick for rallying us together to go up there, because it turned out to be the most pleasing performance of the season against a team we rightly expected would be strong.
The players who came into the team played their hearts out and did us proud, fitting into the system effectively.
Perhaps the most outstanding was Elliott, who played a starring role having moved from hooker to fullback. (Eat your heart out Dylan Hartley). He was faultless in fielding kicks in what was a strong and tricky wind, and ran the ball back with pace and intelligence to set up counter-attacks. He also importantly converted three of our four tries.
Another stand-out performance – his best of the season - came from Ryley, who scored two solo tries in the first half and showed smart handling throughout the match. The two tries were similar with Ryley breaking away from mauls and showing good pace to get over the line. He had to get away from their big, quick winger for his first score, making four or five hand-offs behind his back to keep him at bay. His efforts rattled their team and gave us real belief that we could win the game.
The whole pack put in a great effort, with second-row Ben and No.8 George (who scored our two tries in the second half) leading the way with driving runs.
The forwards were the key to our victory although our backs looked threatening and created a few good chances which unfortunately we couldn’t quite finish off. Cold hands were certainly a problem, and hats off to our wingers who had to hang around in the cutting wind waiting for their chance to get involved, fighting off hypothermia.
So at half-time we led 14-10, with Worcester having scored two unconverted tries – one a solo effort by their big winger that left us fearing the worst. It was a scrappy half and the contest was still very much in the balance with us now playing into the wind.
However, in the second half we began to take some control through our forwards and looked more secure in defence, preventing them from scoring any points. Hugo came on at fly-half and directed the game well along with Luke at scrum-half.
George’s two tries were the culmination of a powerful collective effort and spells of pressure.
Well done to Nick for doing a nice job reffing the match and keeping the game flowing.
Their coaches and players made us really welcome, with food laid on in the Worcester stadium afterwards. And we look forward to hosting them at Clifton next season.