Clifton Rugby Colts win Gloucester County Cup
On a perfect, floodlit evening at the Bristol Combination Lockleaze sports facility, Clifton Rugby’s Colts team took on a strong Minchinhampton RFC Colts in what proved to be a thrilling match.
A good size crowd saw a nervous start from both sides as possession and territory became hard to control. It was obvious there was talent on display in both teams and try scoring opportunities were barely repelled by each side during the first 30 minutes. Something had to give...
First, ClIfton were penalised under tremendous attacking pressure inside their 22; Minchinhampton saw the opportunity to break the deadlock and their excellent fly half Johnny Kite stepped up to score first from the boot.
Clifton looked rattled and appeared to lose concentration for a few minutes and that’s all it took to swing momentum toward the North Gloucestershire side. Some deft footwork and a skilled run from Minchinhampton’s Jack Corry saw the match’s first try, converted by Kite (0-10).
Another score from a penalty kick seemed inevitable as Kite lined up to take 3 points, the ball however bounced off the upright... reacting quickly it was snagged up by Minchinhampton and they very nearly scored a second try. Clifton’s Colts looked rattled as control and luck seemed to be slipping away.
In the space of a few minutes a balanced match up had a 10 point gap, momentum is critical in sport and it was with some relief from the Clifton supporters that the half time whistle blew.
A few changes and some encouraging words from the Clifton coaching team saw the men in #LavenderAndBlack take to the field looking for an early score.
The entertained crowd didn’t have to wait long as a multiphase move pulled Minchinhampton from side to side, inching closer to the line before a decisive break from Zak Hamid started a Clifton’s come back under the posts. A successful conversion from Freddy Vaughan brought the match to life early in the second half (7-10).
Clifton seemed to grow in confidence and passes that didn’t stick in the first half started to lead to concerted attacks. Runs from deep and some excellent penetrating kicks saw Zak Hamid burst through the defensive line and run 50m for his second try and for Clifton to take the lead. Freddy Vaughan added the extras and momentum was switching sides (14-10).
A resurgent Minchinhampton tested Clifton’s defence again and again but committed tackling and resilience kept the determined @MinchRFC men out.
The next score was going to be critical and it deservedly went Clifton’s way with another backs break leading to a lovely try from Calan Fitzgerald. Unconverted, the score stood at 19-10 with 10 minutes to play (19-10).
Clifton continued to ride their momentum and confidence and a further attacking delivered a penalty opportunity. Maturity dictated an attempted kick rather than territory for a line out and the talented Freddy Vaughan calmly slotted the chance (22-10).
A few minutes later it was over. A classic match from talented and committed players whose clubs can be proud.
Colts Rugby is special. Players will have been together for up to 12 years; they know each other’s game and will give everything for their team. For many it’ll be the last time they play together as a 15, for some it’ll be the start of a senior rugby career together.
There is no doubt in the eyes of this observer that we can look forward to many years of wonderful senior rugby from these two teams.
Well done ClIfton and well done Minchinhampton #RugbyFamily