Another game slips by for Clifton – well beaten against Southend
After the long journey to the East Coast we were unable to return with any reward as we slipped to our third successive defeat
For a change we made a bright start with fly half James Mackay kicking an early penalty.
Unfortunately on his first senior start centre Brian Watters was forced out of the action with a knee injury. He was replaced by George Thomas. This is the second time in the last three weeks we have been forced to make a change in our backline in the opening quarter.
We extended our lead when scrum half Andy Uren and flanker Rhys Luckwell created the opportunity for winger Sam Harrison to score a try converted by Mackay.
The home side began to win ball and put pressure on the away side. Our hooker Paul Fincken was deemed to have deliberately knocked on following a scrum close to the line and the referee sent him to the sin bin. The referee awarded a penalty try which fly half Tom Ashton converted.
The home side were now firmly in control and went in front when prop Mike Guess following a catch and drive at a line out appeared to crawl over the line for a try which many considered dubious .Ashton converted.. On the stroke of half time the home side ran a penalty and prop Ashyon Bevens-Royston dived over. The try went unconverted but there was still time for Ashton to kick a penalty. Mackay responded for the visitors.
After half time winger Sam Nash stretched the lead when he went over for a converted try.
We responded when following a flowing back move full back Sam Smee stepped inside the defence to score
Wing Mark Billings completed the scoring when he went over for a converted try.
There was still half an hour remaining and we had plenty of the ball but on the day we lacked the accuracy and precision to turn opportunities into points. We were also denied a score when Harry Birch pulled off a try saving tackle.
Defeats in the last three weeks of which two were unexpected have seen us drawn into the struggle to avoid the third relegation spot. It is unlikely whether Dings or Shelford will pull clear
Currently we are one of the six clubs battling to pull clear of the remaining relegation slot with five Saturdays left in the season.
The crucial fixtures in the next few weeks are as follows
14th Mar Clifton v Launceston
Old Elthamians v Southend
Canterbury v Lydney
Shelford v Dings
28st Mar Cambridge v Clifton
Launceston v Old Elthamians
Southend v Canterbury
Lydney v Taunton
11th Apr Canterbury v Launceston
Worthing v Clifton
Old Elthamians v Cambridge
Taunton v Southend
Bishop Stortford v Lydney
18th Apr Clifton v Old Elthamians
Cambridge v Canterbury
Launceston v Taunton
Lydney v Redruth
Southend v Bishop Stortford
25th Apr Canterbury v Clifton
Bishop Stortford v Launceston