U15s v Old Pats
Cup final loss
Clifton under-15s were narrowly beaten by Old Patesians in a repeat match-up of last year’s compelling Gloucester Cup Final.
In similar fashion to last season’s drawn encounter, Old Pats made a flying start with their inside centre taking a crash ball from 10m out to score under the posts. The straightforward conversion gave the Cheltenham based side a 7-0 lead.
Clifton then fought back as they took control of the forwards battle, with powerful charges by prop Tom Sims and flanker Ryley Staynings resulting in a ruck just short of Old Pats’ tryline.
Captain Louis Jones then seized his opportunity with the defence in disarray picking up the ball and smashing his way over the line. The missed conversion left the score 7-5 at half-time.
Turning round with the wind behind them, Clifton would have hoped to have had the better of the territory in the second period.
But Clifton chose to back the running game that had proved so successful all season rather than kick for territory.
Old Pats repeatedly contained every thrust of the Clifton backs and then used their own kicking game to pin back their opponents in their half.
This eventually created a great attacking opportunity with a scrum 5m from the Clifton tryline. The No.8 picked up and drove for the line. He was pulled to the ground but cleverly reached out an arm and touched down. A tricky conversion into the wind was successful to give a 14-5 lead.
Clifton weren’t done, though, with Sims and Staynings continuing to make good ground with outstanding surges.
One such burst from Staynings in Old Pats’ 22 created a two on one before a deft pass put the pacy winger Sam Costley into space and he raced over for a try.
Costley then struck the conversion over to leave his side trailing by just two points, at 14-12, setting up the prospect a fine comeback.
But it was Old Pats’ defence that continued to frustrate Clifton. And it was only two magnificent tryline tackles by Clifton winger Sam Sproull that prevented Old Pats extending their lead before the final whistle.
Overall this was a disappointing end to a fine County Cup campaign, and many of those watching felt that had the game been played before we had to have nearly two months off due to the weather the outcome might have been different. A bit of rust and a few injuries certainly played their part.
Credit must go to Pats though - they are a fine team and deserved winners.
Look out Somerset, here we come!