Please print off the attached and frame it quickly.... a rare apology from the coaching team!!
7 tries to 1 and you didn't get rapturous praise from us... Was it a case of PMT (post match tension), am I just turning into a grumpy old man (Aimee no need to reply - that question is rhetorical!) or do we just have high expectations of this group of talented players?
After last week's dire performance and a firm mid week session, we set out to ensure we maintained a grip on the game and not lose it like we did at Chepstow or to N&B:
Goal - not loads of tries, or a massive score, but just hard work... relentlessly
Role - get everyone doing their job and not worrying about someone else's
Intensity - hit the rucks and tackles harder
Performance - work on the patterns and focus on the team around us
Before kick off, we specifically spoke about the need for us to not rely on Adam's in either attack or defence... I wanted him to score less than 3 tries and make less than 3 tackles... Strange stats to set anyone, but we need to operate as a team. What happened at kick off? They secure ball, kick back into our half for Ralph to gather and set off straight for the try line! Fortunately, the message appeared to be on track and having beaten the first defenders and up into the 22, Adam's offered the off load.... Travis was so surprised he decided to applaud, rather than catch the ball... knock on, Cryptians scrum.
Set piece worked well, Evans stole the ball (legally for a change) and smart thinking from Cherry who broke left, at pace away from the opposing nine, drew the final defender before passing neatly into the arms of Read, who's finishing is improving with every game. 5-0
Clifton again got into the Cryptians third and one of the best passages of passing all the way through the backs (and some wannabe backs - Hilts, King etc) saw Shodimu narrowly denied in the corner. With the game plan clearly going so well, it was time for a change.... time to drift sideways in the backs and take it easy at the rucks.... Clifton spurned a couple of scoring chances when the basics of drawing a man and passing a ball would suffice. However, recyling the ball, Clifton put Adams over for his first of two tries in quick succession with Billy Elliot tapping over the extras. Clifton 19-0.
Pressure for places meant that the guys temporarily losing concentration had a chance for a break, enabling us to introduce debutant Kirkham in the front row and see Thornton returning to centre with a vengeance!
Cryptians stuck at the game well and produced a well earned try following a smart decoy move from their own 22. Clifton centres confused, the Cryptians winger sped up to and beyond half way before being taken by a try saving tackle from Adams. Unfortunately, they worked the front foot ball well, and out numbered our short side defence to score in the corner. Half time Clifton 19 Cryptians 5.
Half time message was about getting to the rucks a second quicker, being more clinical in attack and making the passes stick and keep making the first up tackles. Clifton took a little time to up their pace, but when they did so it made a huge difference. Clean ball from the forwards for Cherry, great distribution from Adair and straight running from the backs saw Penny bust the defensive line and race over the line. Simple rugby, executed well, 24-5.
The next score was good to see a training move come off in a game. Centre scrum on their 22, quick ball released to Adair down the narrow side, who held up the defence well, delivered a simple loop ball to Cherry, who arced round the defence with pace to cross the line. 29-5
With Lang at 10, the Clifton forwards were well bossed! Clifton got good ball on their 10m line Lang calling the shots sent the centres on a wide decoy run, before popping the ball neatly to Adair who broke the first line, stepped the second before outpacing the covering defence to score a well worked try. 34-5.
The final try of the day was more of a West Country Classic. Ruck 5m out, debutant Kirkham counter rucked superbly, stole the ball, drove to within inches of the line, but had the sense to offload to Harms for a simple touch down. 39-5.
It was great to see Clifton's ambition maintained despite the score line. If only we could start every game 20-0 up! Having once more pushed deep into the Cryptians 22, we conceded a penalty. The Cryptian's runner lined up from Blaise Castle and at about 6'4", momentum was with him. Long on guts, short on cerebral faculties and incentivised on tackle count, Maycock was looking forward to a well earned post match treat. Chips he wanted, Smash potato he got, but fair play for pulling him down!
The next passage of play also saw a well deserved tackle. Clifton attacking left to right, ball through the hands, over lap on, but a nameless Clifton player took a wrong turn! Into some frustrated Cryptians defenders and unceremoniously dumped on his.... The referee had had enough, final whistle, final score 39-5.
Special mentions to Felix for coping with a coaches cock up well. Also to Westy and Arran for coming to support your team.
For the record, a great result, well done. 1 from 1 in the Gloucester cup, can we keep it going? There will be sterner tests ahead. St Mary's have already banked on beating us at their place on 14th December.... We need to set our sights higher and work harder... Are we up for this?
Mary's away in the cup... Can anyone remove the wrinkles and lend me a wig, I can't wait!!