Cleve take positives from big cup final defeat

Bristol Combination Cup final: Chew Valley 70-16 Cleve

CLEVE offered their congratulations to a well-drilled Chew Valley RFC First XV on a well-deserved victory in the Bristol Combination Cup final.

Obviously, this was not the result that Cleve wanted but there were positives the club could take away.

It was a great challenge for a young Cleve team playing a side two leagues above themselves.

Cleve have a great history in this cup, having won it in 1992, 2005 and 2007, but in those days the club had a very well-established team.

The team started the final strongly, with Nathan Huntley leading the way in hitting a penalty early on.

Chew then steadily clawed their way back into the game, scoring within the next play phase. 

The game was a milestone for Cleve in many ways. Andy O’Donnell was playing his last game with his son Harry in the team.

Nathan, coaching the young team, was not going to go down without a fight. 

On 10 minutes he landed another penalty to make the score 7-6 to Chew.

But the higher league team then began to show their class, winning and recycling quick clean ball. The scoreboard started to click over in their favour and by half-time they were almost out of sight at 35 to 9.

In the second half the weather turned for the worse, but Chew were relentless.

One of Cleve’s ex-players, Dave Brooker, was leading Chew to a great victory but Cleve kept going, scoring the final try of the game on the last play.

An end of the season club dinner on May 12 saw all celebrating the year that the team has progressed through and enjoying each other’s company.

The Cleve boys are now having a well-deserved rest before preseason begins on June 20: all new and existing players are welcome.

Steve Bateman