Signs were ominous after just a few minutes when Clifton’s back line showed some smart handling to score under the posts. Sarries responded swiftly with winger, Connor Anderson, kicking a perfectly weighted ball down the wing and over the try line, to touch down (5-7).
Sarries fly half, Tom Hage, punished Cliftons ill discipline, kicking a penalty to take the lead 8 – 7. Pressure from Sarries forwards, who were dominating the scrums, saw flanker, Charles Peters, run 20 yards taking the game to 15 – 7.
Sarries complacency allowed Clifton to move the ball through their backs, demonstrating excellent handling skills and pace of play, which rewarded them with 3 quick tries, before the half time whistle (15 – 28). Clifton keen to continue their game plan, released the ball through their backs out wide, to score the first try of the second half, leaving a shell-shocked Sarries 20 points behind. Sarries, desperate to regain composure and following a much needed team talk from skipper Harry Beaver, resulted in a change of tact which saw the forwards dominate possession. Big hits and aggressive play, saw 2nd row, Ryan White charge through Clifton’s defensive line following a tap penalty (22 – 35). Quick thinking by centre, Harry Lodge, who took a quick tap penalty, catching Clifton off guard resulted in a further try (27 – 35).
Game plan sorted, it seemed all hopes would be dashed when Clifton’s winger broke free and ran the length of the pitch to score, taking them 13 points in front, with just 12 minutes to go. Sarries were awarded a penalty which Tom Hage punished with a huge kick to the Clifton 5 metre line. Sarries pack drove the ball over the line allowing Kierran White to touch down (32 – 40). Just 2 minutes later it was deja vous for Clifton, when Tom kicked the ball in exactly the same spot but this time a misplaced line out ball gave Clifton the scrum. A tackle from Sarries scrum half, Joe Prosser, on his opposite number saw Clifton spill the ball which Charles Peters pounced on and gratefully placed over the line (39 – 40). Pressure, determination and belief from a re-energised Sarries saw them camped in Clifton’s 5 metres when the ref called last play. Sarries forwards put in huge hits, sucking in Cliftons defence as Sarries spun the ball out wide to Connor Anderson for a try.
Final Score Sarries 44 Clifton 39.