Clifton U15s v Dings
Dings Dong Battle
This pulsating encounter against Dings on the Wanderers pitch at Clifton was a dress rehearsal for the Bristol Combination Cup final – and both sides played like the cup itself was at stake.
Crisp, cold conditions meant handling was sometimes a bit suspect from both sides, but this was an entertaining match with plenty of ambition to play open rugby on an invitingly firm pitch.
Having said that, the scramble defences and desperation not to lose brought the halftime whistle with the game poised at an unlikely 0-0.
The second half saw both sides improve with ball in hand but it took another quarter of an hour for the deadlock to be broken.
Some good build-up play, involving strong runs from Elias and Ryley and inventive offloading from George, created enough space for Sam Costley to ghost past two defenders and score out wide.
Elliot, who has matured into the fullback role this season and was a strong candidate for man of the match with his strong runs from deep and solid defence, hit the post with the tricky conversion attempt.
More end-to-end rugby followed before Ryley barrelled his way through several players from a lineout just outside their 22 and dabbed the ball down over the line for a score that made it 10-0.
Kicker Elliot again showed his footballing skills with a perfect contact off the tee from wide out that sent the ball sailing through the posts to put us decisively 12-0 up.
Dings fought back hard and earned themselves a try in the last minute after a bit of confusion near our line from a kick over the top to leave the final score 12-5.
The game was played in good spirit and both sets of coaches agreed this is a fixture we need to repeat next year.