CLEVE’S home game against Clifton was always going to be a tough one.
Clifton are a development team and as a consequence can be very good or mediocre. Unfortunately for Cleve, they were playing against a very good team.
In the first five minutes Clifton moved the ball well, and undoubtedly the lavender and blacks were on top.
However after defending hard for the first 15 minutes, Cleve struck out against the run of play due to some really good lineout work.
A great break by Will Warman took Cleve into Clifton’s 22. This led to a penalty which Liam Clode slotted over, to make it 3-0 to Cleve.
Cleve continued to press Clifton, and a penalty took them near Clifton’s try line. This, however, quickly turned to panic as Clifton attacked.
Some really good scramble defence kept them out but, in the end, Clifton broke through and scored under the posts, with the try converted to make the score 7-3 to Clifton.
In the 10 minutes before half-time, Clifton showed some class and ran the ball well. They went from their 22 to score in the corner, to make the score 12-3 at half-time.
Cleve started the second half with some determination.
They dominated possession, with good drives and control of the ball.
Matt Lynch and Will Callaghan were especially prevalent. They got their hands on the ball and drove tenaciously at Clifton’s defence.
But Cleve continually missed out on scoring by making mistakes at critical times.
Their pressure put Clifton on the back foot, but the visitors kicked well and this got them out of trouble.
In the last ten minutes Cleve continued to pressurise and, after a lineout near the line, they got a penalty. This was again slotted over to make the score 12 to 6 and bring Cleve within a converted try of victory.
The last few minutes were frantic, but Clifton kept Cleve out to hold on for a win.