Another close encounter of the 4th kind
1 point short of a bonus point, losing by 1 unconverted try and 1 penalty (the 2nd half was 14-all)
To and fro in the early minutes with Clifton penalised twice but also forcing turnovers twice. The third penalty after a line-out 20 metres into the opposition half gave the visitors their first points at 6 minutes, kicked by fullback O'Toole. Three kicks followed the restart, the last to touch by Barnes for a Clifton line-out 16 metres inside their half. From that they went wide twice ; this resulted in their fullback Roberts having only a Barnes's prop in front of him near the 22 and he slipped through a tackle to go over wide out at 9 minutes. The conversion just missed. The next 10 minutes saw 2 penalties for Clifton and Barnes doing most of the defending. From their line-out 11 metres into the opposition half Clifton went wide and Barnes lost a forward for a not dangerous high tackle at 21 minutes. Fly-half Mackay kicked the points from 24 metres in centre field
The visitors continued to do some defending after the restart then from a line-out well inside their own half they set up a rolling maul to get a penalty that was kicked to touch 13 metres into the other half. The line-out was stolen by Clifton but then kicked out on the full. A knock-on after the second line-out gave Barnes a scrum put-in 17 metres into their opponents' half. The visitors got a free-kick at that and ran the ball; they recycled 9 times mostly close then sent the ball wide for wing Greenwood to touch down wide-out before the half-hour. A very good conversion from O'Toole followed.
The restart resulted in a scrum for Barnes after which they soon kicked for territory and got another put-in near half-way. Clifton got a free-kick at that and chose another scrum. This time the visitors' pack was penalised and the kick took Clifton to their line-out 17 metres out. Their pack started a driving maul and got close to the line then that went down. The ball was recycled to hooker Wheeler who had no opposition at 35 minutes. It looked as if the nearby defenders had stopped, expecting the Ref.’s whistle. Mackay easily added.
Barnes had the ball for a few phases after the restart before Clifton won a turnover and then they advanced strongly before putting a chip through and regaining. Six more recycles got them a penalty 15 metres into the opposition half with an easy angle and Mackay kicked for an 8 points lead before the halftime whistle.
Barnes forced an error early in the second half to start the first attack; the defence held at their 22. Clifton then broke out strongly then recycled 4 times before chipping towards the corner. Barnes touched down for a 22 drop-out. Clifton ran the ball back with 3 phases and one breakthrough before the defence forced an error to get the next put-in at their 22. From that they cleared to touch but not far from the line-out Clifton put together 5 phases before chipping over. This resulted in another 22 drop-out. An error after that gave the visitors a scrum 18 metres inside their half then a penalty at that. The kick took them to just inside the other half. From the line-out they went wide and wing Adams broke through the defence. The visitors recovered from an error then kicked to touch 5 metres out. They were penalised at the line-out but the kick didn't find touch and Barnes ran the ball wide then put together 9 phases to get a man advantage for 10 minutes. This not far outside the 22 and their kick took them to their line-out 14 metres out.
The ball was thrown past the end and the opposition came away with it then kicked to touch. The visitors kicked after the line-out and Clifton ran the ball breaking through before a forward pass at the opposition 22. Following the scrum Barnes kept the ball close before kicking ahead. Clifton ran back breaking through to 2 metres from the opposition line where the defence lost a man for 10 minutes. Clifton chose a 5 metre scrum; this was wheeled by Barnes to get their own put-in. The ball was soon cleared to touch 18 metres out. Clifton's pack kept the ball for a drive then recycled once close to a forward then again wider. This was intercepted by Greenwood who went all the way to the far posts for his second at the start of the final quarter. O'Toole added.
Barnes returned the restart with an up-and-under that resulted in their penalty. This was kicked for a line-out 25 metres out then recycled 3 times to get another penalty 31 metres out near centre field. O'Toole's kick for the points, one he would have expected to get, was wide. The visitors dealt with the long restart before an error gave Clifton a scrum 5 metres inside their half. This was soon followed by their penalty that was kicked for a line-out just inside the opposition 22. The forwards set for a drive which wasn't well defended and resulted in a third penalty 15 metres out that Clifton ran with no. 8 Uren going to the posts at 66 minutes. Mackay added.
Clifton cleared the long restart to touch 15 metres inside their half. The result of the line-out was a penalty against Barnes. This was kicked for an attacking line-out 17 metres from the visitors' line. The pack opted for a drive then scrumhalf A. Uren broke blind, where there was only one defender, and passed to no. 8 M. Uren for his second try at 70 minutes. This was converted by replacement B. Barnes.
Clifton did not deal with the restart and the opposition got the ball. They recycled 4 times before the defence forced an error to get the next scrum. After this Clifton recovered from having a kick charged down and kicked again. This resulted in their line-out still well inside their half. From it they kicked long; Barnes soon returned this to touch 11 metres into the opposition half. After the line-out Clifton had the ball for two phases before making an error. Advantage was played and the visitors went wide and made good ground. They recycled twice then broke the line and recycled once more before the defence forced an error to get the last scrum 5 metres out. They were pushed back at this and Barnes' replacement scrumhalf Gordon was first to the ball for a try with 3 minutes left. O'Toole added.
The visitors secured the restart and went wide and son got a penalty at the next breakdown. They ran this to get a man advantage for the last two minutes. Again they ran the penalty from 5 metres inside their half. Wing Adams kicked and regained then the ball was recycled 6 times before the defence forced an error 10 metres out, then the whistle.
Warm and sunny, some wind but not affecting the game much; a perfect pitch.