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News > Sports > Old Elizabethans v Clifton II 3rd Dec 2022

Old Elizabethans v Clifton II 3rd Dec 2022

Terrific match for both players and spectators
4 Dec 2022
Written by Malcolm Davies
A match to be remembered
A match to be remembered

Old Elizabethans v Clifton II
3rd December 2022

A cold but still afternoon at Hallen saw Old Es welcome Clifton II for what was a long-awaited season's rematch.

Earlier in the season (2nd Match of the season) and after Es surprise loss to Saracens, Es had competed extremely well at the Clifton ground but then fell away, so was it to be the same this week.

1st XV SQUAD: Jack Houlder, Matt Bailey, Lucas Sadler, Greg Foord, Rob Lee, Dom Horn, Matt Hudson, Adam Skyner, Rhys Edwards, George Burnie, Will Tobin, Wil Paterson, Will Appleton, Benji Wagstaffe, Pat Dore, Sam Brewer, Luke Jagger, Tobias Burden

With Es playing towards the clubhouse in fact it was Clifton who started the brightest and nearly scored inside the first minute but for a small knock on as Es lost the ball trying to run out from their 22 straight from the kick off rather clearing the ball into touch. Clifton built on this early pressure but it wasn't until the eleventh minute that the Blue Wall cracked with Clifton scoring a converted try. (0-7). Maybe Es were paying for not having played for two weeks? However, there was a positive response and Es were awarded a penalty kick but this was unusually skewed like a missile off Luke Jagger's boot!!

It wasn't long before Clifton, looking really strong and well organised were back in the Es' 22 where a thunderous gladiatorial tackle by Pat Dore stopped Clifton in their tracks. Play then switched backwards and forward between both 22s for quite a while. At the 30-minute mark Es were once again pinned back in their 22 but again the defence stood firm. However, a break by Clifton out on their left wing saw a try saving tackle from Dom Horn but a Clifton player hoovered the ball up and went over for an impressive try followed by an equally impressive conversion kick from the touchline (0-14).

The eager crowd, swollen by many of the QEH School 1st XV started to fear the worst. But it is a measure of how Es have progressed that these were the last points scored by Clifton II. Whilst Es' defensive Blue Wall continued to work hard at times Es were starting to threaten Clifton punching small holes primarily by Sam Brewer and Pat Dore in their defence.

Two key things happened before Half Time, firstly former Old Es' player Will Mortimore - now playing for Clifton - suffered an injury and had to leave the field, and then Es' lineout within the Clifton 22 was well won with an impressive drive from the forwards before Prop Jack Houlder peeled away and stole over for a good Es' try, duly converted by Luke Jagger (7-14). As the half time whistle blew some hope seemed to have been restored.

Skyner on for Horn, Hudson on for Bailey, Foord on for Lee. The half time talk seemed initially anyway to have done the trick as Es immediately attacked and were awarded a penalty between the Clifton 10m line and halfway but coolly Luke Jagger stepped up and sent the ball sailing through the posts to bring the score back to (10-14).

Es were now very much in the ascendancy and a smart chip from Fly Half Will Appleton saw Sam Brewer break free and gain some good ground. Es were then awarded a penalty on the 22 but maybe the pressure got to Cool Hand Luke as the kick sailed just wide of the left upright. Es were now camped in the Clifton half but Clifton's defence stood firm until a further penalty awarded to Es was slotted between the uprights to bring the score to (13-14).

Surely the game was there for the taking by Es but try as they may couldn't take any further advantage of the territorial possession. Clifton was the team that finished the last 10 minutes the stronger but despite some desperate defending with every man from Benji Wagstaffe to Lucas Sadler stood firm. It was very much looking as if Clifton would have the last say in this game but Es hung on and earned themselves a losing bonus point through some great fearsome tackling, notably George Burnie and Will Patterson, and became only the second team to do this against Clifton II all season.

The players were gutted not to have gained those few points needed for a win but the crowd very much appreciated what was a fantastic titanic battle between these two sets of Gladiators.

Attention now switches to next week's game away against Dings Crusaders II - see you there!

FINAL SCORE: Old Elizabethans 13 – 14 Clifton II

Tries: Jack Houlder
Conversions: Luke Jagger
Penalties: Luke Jagger (2)

Man of the Match: For his hard work and excellent defensive display this was awarded to joint skipper Wil Patterson (Patty).

Full Table and Fixture List below

Report by: Paul “Blakey” Barrington

CLICK for the Old Elizabethans RFC website

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