Bournville made their first visit to Station Road to play Clifton with a sizeable travelling support from the U15s and the Hippos who were having a weekend away in the West Country.

In relatively mild conditions for late January, the match took off at a blistering pace and with the hosts crossing within 90 seconds through Alex Kilbane with stalwart Luke Cozens converting (7-0). It wasn’t long till Bournville showed their intent and a clever banana kick from Mitch McGahan, in at scrum half; for Mikey Ho had the visitors on the scoreboard for their first of the afternoon, with Max Craven narrowly wide with he conversion (7-5). Moments later, Clifton’s Cozens confidently placed a penalty kick to touch and a well-functioning line-out led to the home side’s eventual man of the match, Matty Ward scoring his first try. Cozens adding the conversion (14-5).

From the restart, Clifton looked dangerous and Howman found a way through to dot down an unconverted try (19-5). Undeterred, Bournville pushed hard, and Owen Williams charged down a Cozens’ kick and regather to score under the posts leaving Craven an easy conversion (19-12).

The match was end-to-end and just 2 minutes later Zac Ward bagged a converted try (26-12) and Clifton’s bonus point. Bournville, spurred on by their vocal support rallied and a well-worked tap penalty routine saw new father Sam Sheppard dive over and then after a wonderful defensive spell, Sam Grimshaw pounced with a wonderful interest and a sprint in from 60m to leave the scores tied at the half time break.

With the try-scoring bonus point secured, Bournville took the lead early in the 2nd stanza after a confusing penalty try which saw play bought back the length of the field. This galvanized the hosts as they well and truly showed their attacking prowess and take the game away from Bournville with 4 unanswered tries in a devastating 10-minute period to make the score 52-33.

Undeterred Bournville’s forwards rolled up their sleeves and got stuck into the Clifton pack and were rewarded with a wonderful rolling maul try, Callum Thompson the beneficiary (52-40). Despite pushing in the final 5minutes for another bonus point, Clifton registered another 2 scores to leave us a final score line of 64-40.

A wonderful advert for National League rugby and again shows the competitiveness of the league, with Clifton flying high in 2nd place and Bournville fighting their way in the bottom 6. A wonderful performance on the road and the travelling support were entertained and enthralled by the team’s fight and attacking endeavour.

3,2,1 for the day…

1; Martin Donnelly; on early for an injury replacement but more than held his own at scrum time against his vastly experienced opponent and added plenty of energy and enthusiasm round the park
2; Jonjo Fanning; a shift back to no8 for the day but a performance we have come to expect from him nonetheless. Plenty of big shots defensively and left a few defenders sprawled on the pitch with ball in hand.
and star Man; Sam Sheppard; despite the lack of sleep that accompanies a newborn baby to the household; Sam was a man possessed covering almost every blade of grass on the Clifton pitch and rewarded with a try.

See Photos by Lee Sullivan

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