Claverdon 14 Alcester 9
CLAVERDON completed the Midlands Four West (South) double over neighbours Alcester despite producing a below-par performance on Saturday.
The Lions started the brighter and instantly made good ground by attacking the narrow channels.
This was quickly rewarded when the visitors were penalised within striking distance of the posts and fly-half Ian Wyllie gave his kick just enough to give the home side an early lead.
This was only short-lived as Alcester responded with a penalty of their own.
The home side responded and, from a great scrum, Mike Jay fed winger Tom Johnson who beat two men to create an overlap. He in turn fed full back Conor Smith who was just caught as he looked certain to score.
This proved to be a catalyst as the Lions again attacked through a great break from flankers James Barton and Andy Wenborn but again it was cut short.
It was only a matter of time before the hosts regained the lead through another Wyllie penalty.
While the lineouts were proving ineffective, the Claverdon scrum was far superior thanks to props Mark Tilson and Dave Carruthers with hooker Steve Grimsley managing to pinch a lot of opposition ball.
It was from a scrum that Claverdon scored their only try of the game. Paul Carruthers and Chris Lowe made valuable yards upfield and when the attack was suddenly switched the visitors did not react quickly enough.
With Johnson holding the defence with a dummy run, a long pass from Wyllie found Conor Smith out wide and the captain went over in the corner. James Barton narrowly missed the touchline conversion.
Alcester attacked late in the half but good tackling from centres Tim Westmacott and Sam Harris kept them from crossing the try line but they did manage a second penalty to reduce the arrears to five points.
On the stroke of half time a great charge down from James Barton left him the simple task of picking up the ball to run it in under the posts. Unfortunately, he was not aware of the time he had and his footballing skills let him down as the chance of a certain try went begging.
Much of the second half was played out in the centre of the field.
Winger Paul Daws was a constant threat with his darting runs and went closest but he was held up just short of the line.
Alcester responded and gained good territory but twice failed to kick their penalties as the home team were penalised for coming in from the side.
Wyllie soon added his third penalty from wide left before the Alcester fly-half finally succeeded with his third kick of the half to give the visitors a losing bonus point.
Claverdon were pleased with the result but knew they should have scored more points and the lack of recent games had clearly shown in their performance.
The Lions take a break from league action this weekend as they travel to Old Yardleians for a friendly.
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