Cleve top group to make cup final

  • Cleve father and son duo Steve and Jack Bush played together in Jack’s senior debut against Thornbury, with Steve scoring a try.

CLEVE RFC made the final of the Bristol Combination Cup after a victory over Thornbury, who play their rugby in a higher league, put them top of their pool.

The match would decide who topped the pool in the Butcombe-sponsored competition.

The game started at a frantic pace. Thornbury were initially on the attack and then Cleve countered. Will Warman got hold of the ball, dummied to his left and cut back to score. 

Within ten minutes Cleve were on the attack again. After some really good handling along the backs, Andy Priddle let loose a great pass to the wing, where he found Dave Thomas who went over to put Cleve 10-0 up after 10 minutes.

Thornbury were punch drunk, but responded, applying pressure until their centre broke through to score between the posts, with the conversion going over.

Thornbury applied their experience and went ahead after a catch and drive near Cleve’s line went over. This was closely followed by their No 8 driving through to score.

But Cleve have learnt to absorb pressure, dig in and respond. Steve Bush went on a few penetrating runs which resulted in a try, and Cleve led 20-17 at half time.

You could not turn away from this game without missing something, as the upper hand went from one team to the the other.

After half time Thorns scored in the corner to go 24-20 up, but were not done and created pressure again, with an interception in the centre leading to a converted score.

The play went end to end, with Will Warman then taking the ball out of a maul, and cleverly going blind to score.

Cleve then turned to their more experienced players, with coach Nathan Huntley and Greg Welling coming on.

Their impact was felt straight away as their composure and attacking ability put Cleve on the offensive.

The ball was moved along the line, with some fantastic handling, and a loop pass to Cam Bell saw him score on the wing to put Cleve ahead 32-31.

In the last 10 minutes both the teams worked hard to deny the other territory and advantage, with tough tackling and good defensive lines.

Steve Bush picked up the ball and drove towards the line, resulting in a penalty which Huntley slotted over to make it 35-31.

Cleve held out to reach the final of this competition at Clifton’s rugby ground, which was taking place at the end of April after the Voice went to print.

Steve Bateman