On bright sunny spring day a large crowd gathered for a fantastic Saturday that saw Dom Swann's Testimonial match (The Swann Song) vs The Thundercats (OEs 2nd XV), followed by the 1st XV taking on Clifton II and the whole day being given over to the ladies (Ladies Day). It was a great day for everyone and the club as a whole.
1st XV SQUAD: George Burnie, James Brooke, Jack Houlder, Dom Horm, Adam Skyner, Rhys Edwards, Will Tobin, Rob Lee, Will Appleton, Matty Carr, Pat Dore, Jamie Halpin, Sam Brewer, Luke Jagger, Ben Barnett, Matthew Bailey, Alex Potts, Joe Brock.
1st XV MATCH REPORT: Having won the last four matches out of four the Es, playing against the wind and away from the clubhouse, started with a strong and positive attitude. Es were first to score with a great win at the line out and Sam Brewer went over with a Jagger conversion (7-0).
Clifton were now on the attack and Es were having to defend their line but Es were penalised. Clifton took the scrum from which they broke away and scored a try and conversion (7-7).
Brooke and Skyner made good drives and managed to win one of Clifton's line outs. Es were awarded a penalty kick 30m out but the wind caught the ball and the penalty was missed. Unfortunately, Ben Barnett had to go off with a hamstring injury and reliable Joe Brock took his place
The teams were very evenly matched and a lot of midfield action and territorial jousting took place. Es then lost Jamie Halpin, again with a hamstring injury, and Alex Potts went on.
Es' scrum was beginning to get on top and were being roared on by the substantial crowd of supporters who were not used to seeing the Es' scrum working so well. Es were playing it tight, with some superb passing. A great passing exchange between Luke Jagger and Pat Dore ended with a try and a Jagger conversion (14-7).
Unfortunately, Rob Lee was then sent off with a yellow card for going into the scrum from the side. Shortly after a great try saving tackle was made by Pat Dore, but then Clifton were awarded a penalty 5m out which led to a converted try for them under the posts. Half time score (14-14)
In the second half Es were playing with the wind and surprisingly Es won the ball back from kick off and with a further kick pushed Clifton back into their 22. Subsequently a good break by Will Appleton led to a penalty in midfield 30m out, calmly kicked by Luke Jagger (17-14).
Clifton then did some serious attacking in Es' 22. After a good kick out, Will Tobin put in a try saving tackle but the Referee penalised Es for rolling with the ball and Clifton moved in quickly to score a try in the corner plus a conversion (17-21)
From the kick-off a penalty kick was awarded to Es but sadly it was missed. There followed some great Es scrummaging against the head also Skyner won a line out against the head and there was a good nudge by Matty Carr into touch. Skyner and Dore were combining well and Will Appleton and Rob Lee were having a brilliant game. Es were then awarded a penalty which Luke Jagger took (20-21)
Both Alex Potts and Will Tobin made great runs to Clifton's 5m line but were held out by Clifton's defence. However, play returned to the Es' 22 and there was some desperate Es' defence to keep Clifton at bay. But the “Blue Wall” stopped them. Es then won a 5m scrum and with 5 minutes to go Luke Jagger made a great run down the left wing but was tackled just before the line. The referee marched Es back 10m for back chat. This was then followed by some furious play from which a penalty kick was awarded to Es, 22m out. But the kick was pulled left and missed. Es were marched back 10m again for back chat. Es tried to run out of defence but time ran out and the final whistle went.
An excellent game by both teams and either team could have narrowly won. As it was Clifton edged the win by one point but the losing bonus point for Es ensured that they remained in 4th position in their first season in the Gloucester Premier League. See other results and League standings below.
FINAL SCORE: Old Elizabethans 20 – 21 Clifton II
Man of the Match: Sam Brewer - an all round great performance by the centre!
Full Table and and OEs' results for the season below
Paul “Blakey” Barrington
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