ON Saturday, we faced a strong Clifton side, a team that we had not beaten in three attempts and, in fact, probably had our poorest performance against this season, losing 10-9 just before Christmas.
The side this week was much changed from the Newbury game. Mickey Pointing was at prop, Matt Miles was hooking, Charlie McGowan was back into the second row and Jamie Redmayne at openside. In the backs, Ben Dudley, Paul Dunckley and Richard Briggs were all back in the starting line-up.
In the scorching heat, the game was split into four 20-minute quarters, with two-minute water breaks.
Each quarter was a completely different game of rugby. In the first we dominated possession and territory, and raced into, what was thought to be, a commanding 27-point lead.
The second quarter was Clifton’s, where our poor defence and missed tackles allowed them to get themselves back into the game.
Despite conceding a try early on in the second half, which levelled the scores, our defence and individual tackling was much better and we were starting to gain more possession, putting Clifton under pressure and retaking the lead through a Matt penalty.
After the last water break, we started to get back into our rhythm and we camped ourselves in the opposition half, finally scoring a try again. We did allow Clifton to gain a losing bonus point in the last kick of the game.
The last home game done and it’s always good to finish with a victory, to match the success of the Easter Family Fun Day. Congratulations to all the organisers and volunteers who helped make it a successful day.
Other results from the weekend saw wins for Taunton, Richmond, Jersey, and Southend.
Shelford confirmed their survival by beating Westcombe Park, and Canterbury helped their own cause by beating Newbury.
Ealing took a step closer to promotion by overcoming Henley.
So here we are the last game of a very long, tough season. This time we make the relatively short trip to Westcombe Park on Saturday, instead of Bridgwater and Clifton as in the previous year’s fixtures.
In those fixtures, the games were seen as “dead rubbers” as neither team had much to play for.
This week is very different. Westcombe are fighting for their lives and can not afford to slip up.
We also want to finish this season strongly and to continue the good form we have been showing.
There is still the outside chance of capturing sixth place.
We hope to see as many of you there as possible.