A week is a long time in rugby. In reality, although the last minute penalty at the weekend gave Guernsey the win, throughout the 80 minutes Clifton will reflect on mistakes and a performance that was simply below what they are capable of and have been delivering of late. Guernsey are fighting for their lives and Saturday is a lesson that the squad will have to learn quickly. The win elevated Guernsey off the bottom of the table and climbed to 14th on 28 points and over the next 3 weeks, Clifton travel to relegation threatened London Irish (26 points) and Birmingham (25 points).Everything will be on the line for these teams and Clifton will be well aware of what they face.
Newly promoted after a successful season 2017/18 by 11 points from runners-up Peterborough Lions, The Bees had defeated every other club in the league home and away apart from Sandbach who managed to beat them twice (26-33, 23-20). They scored an impressive 1021 points whilst conceding 369. They have scored some notable wins this season, including Dings and a comprehensive win over Worthing.
In the corresponding fixture earlier in the season, Clifton saw off a physical and abrasive Bees side 31-22 and this weekends fixture will be no different as the squad look to regroup and move forward.
The Lavender and Blacks are boosted by the return of centre Chris Leversley following his injury against Redruth as well as stalwart Will Pomphery's return to training this week.
Charlie Bullimore came thought last weeks game with no adverse effects following his long absence from 1st XV action and is available for selection.
Niall Gibbons and Matthew Davies are also back to full fitness but Gloucester Academy No8 Cam Terry is unavailable following his selection for Gloucester in the Premiership Cup game against Bath on Saturday. Alex Morgan is also unavailable having travelled with the Wales U20 squad for their U20 Six Nations clash against France.
However, Tom Stanton is in line to make his debut for Clifton this weekend. The Gloucester Academy winger has been in impressive form in training and his inclusion in the squad for Saturday promises to be an exciting one.
With the squad looking to put the weekends result against Guernsey to bed and Birmingham fighting to stay alive in this league, Saturdays match is shaping up to be an explosive encounter.
Clifton Rugby v Birmingham and Solihull| Saturday 2nd February 2019 | Kick Off: 14:30