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Atherstone 1st 10 -16 Claverdon 1st XV

Midlands 4 West South

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2014 06:16pm
Atherstone, North Warwickshire
By Julie Douglas
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This match heralded the start of the second half of league fixtures, with the men in black at home to second placed Claverdon.  Having suffered a heavy defeat in the opening league match against the same opposition, captain Phil Mulvey and his team were determined to prove that that result was a blip in what has otherwise seen them produce a consistent string of excellent performances.

A bright start from the visitors saw them have the better of possession and territory in the first 10 minutes, running in an unconverted try despite some exceptional defensive work by the Ratcliffe Road outfit.  Atherstone, fielding another much changed side, took time to get into their stride but soon began to put their opponents under pressure.  Indiscipline from the visitors gave Andy Redman to open the account for his team with a successfully kicked penalty.  Both sides struggled to stay on the right side of the referee however it was Claverdon’s whose persistent infringements enabled Atherstone to launch a succession of attacks.  Superb team work moved the ball towards the try line driving the opposition back.  It was Tom Aherne who carried the ball over for Atherstone’s only try of the match.  Redman added the extras to put his side five points ahead.  Towards the end of the half a successful penalty kick from Claverdon cut the deficit to two points leaving the score at 10-8.

The visitors were awarded a penalty early in the second half which was successfully converted into points nudging them ahead.  With fifty five minutes played Claverdon worked the ball across the pitch to cross the line however the try was not awarded.  A succession of penalties against Atherstone led to them losing a player to the sin bin and gave the visitors the opportunity to continually pressure their opponents.  A scrum on the five metre line saw them push the men in black back over the line for an unconverted try to extend their lead taking the score to 10-16. 

Faced with an onslaught of attacks, Atherstone’s defence proved to be impenetrable with Mulvey leading the way in bringing down runners with forceful tackling.  The home side used their possession well to launch a series of attacks testing Claverdon’s defence to the full. John Perry, Lee Amos and Nick Bartlam linked together well to move the ball up the park.  A succession of rolling mauls and pick and drives saw Claverdon camped on their try line trying to keep the men in black out.  Unfortunately an accidental off-side saw the home side having to yield possession to Claverdon enabling them to relieve the pressure.  In the closing stages of the match, a chip down field from Claverdon saw the ball bobble over Atherstone’s try line. Superb work from Andy Burton saw him win the chase to touch the ball down, denying Claverdon of the try. This undoubtedly ensured that the home side secured the losing bonus point with a final score line of 10-16.

On Sunday 28th December, the Ratcliffe Road outfit travel to Barker Butts to take on Southam in the semi-final of the Warwickshire Shield.

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