Cleve play to strengths to beat Barton Hill

CLEVE started their game against Barton Hill on the front foot.

With both clubs closer to the bottom than the top of the league, the players knew how important the game was.

The forwards were totally committed, and the backs were moving the ball well, with fullback Henry Williams’ intelligent kicking putting Cleve in good attacking positions.

Will Warman fielded the ball well after a clearance kick from Barts and started an attack that led to Theo Garnett scoring on the wing, to put Cleve’s first five points on the board.

Cleve tried to speed the game up to negate the bigger Barts forwards. Will tried quick tap penalties to turn the bigger forwards and put Barts under pressure, as the first 20 minutes saw Cleve pound Barts in their half.

Barts however did start to trundle the ball forward, with short drives from the base of rucks and mauls taking them into Cleve’s 22.

On 24 minutes they broke Cleve down and scored to go 7-5ahead.

For the next 15 minutes the ball stayed close to the halfway line, as both teams tested out their opponents.

On half time Cleve made a drive straight through the middle. An exchange of passes saw big second row Joe Paget close to the line. He bounced the tackler off him and went over the line to score under the post. Liam Clode converted the try to make it Cleve 12 Barts 7.

At the start of the second half Barts again called on their forwards to drive the ball forward. After several drives close to the line they were rewarded with a score, which was converted.

As the game went on Cleve went back to their strengths, by moving the ball wide in their backs and trying to move Barts’ big forwards around, and scored their next try after moving the ball wide to the wing, to make it 17-14.

In the last 10 minutes Cleve again showed their fitness and commitment.

Throughout the game Cleve scrummaged well and, after a scrum on the 5m line and an interplay between forwards and backs, again Joe Paget went over, with Henry Williams adding the conversion by using a drop goal technique.

Cleve then went back on defensive mode, which put Barts under pressure and when Dom Callaghan intercepted a wayward pass, he showed his electric pace and went over under the posts. Henry again added the extra points to make the final Score Cleve 31 Barton Hill 14.

Cleve Colts started their campaign with a 55-19 defeat to Dings – but it is very early days for this startup team.

Stephen Bateman