Huge win over Sodbury for Cleve

IN a must-win game to ensure league survival, Cleve were on the ball from the start.

Within the first two minutes they mounted an attack on the Chipping Sodbury line that saw Will Callaghan go over for a try, which was converted.

The game restarted and Greg Welling got hold of the ball and broke through Sodbury’s centres to set up Dom Callaghan for Cleve’s second, and another conversion from Nathan Huntley put them 14-0 up after just 5 minutes.

Sodbury then showed why they have done well this season, moving the ball wide and for their left winger to score.

Cleve went back on the attack, passing the ball well between backs and forwards. In a ruck close to the 22, Sodbury were penalised for offside, with Huntley stroking over the ensuing penalty.

As the game again became an end-to-end match, Sodbury drove the ball from a maul following a 5 metre lineout to score again but failed to convert to make it 24-12 at half-time.

Cleve’s new number 8 Ben Roach, an Aussie working in the UK, took the game to Sodbury with some impressive driving play.

The second half began like the first, with the home side on the attack.

Some great penetrating runs by the centres saw Greg Welling go over the line, converted to make it 31-12.

The game again went backwards and forwards, but Cleve kept Sodbury out, and won a penalty following a misdemeanour in a ruck, which was kicked by Huntley.

Cleve were now dominating the game and, by passing and line breaks, got close to the line.

A short pass to Paul Vinicombe saw the power of the forward drive straight over the line, to make it 44 to 12.

In the final minutes Cleve were still in the mood for more tries.

The last one was in some ways the best – a short pass to the Number 8 and a break through Sodbury’s line then saw a great offload by Rich Bullough to Will Warman.

The scrum-half then accelerated to the try line and scored, with Huntley again converting.

The game finished 54-12 to Cleve.

Cleve Seconds were also playing on the same day, hosting Bristol Saracens, This game was a close affair, with only a try separating the two teams until the last third.

Cleve, however, ran out winners 24-12.

Man of the match was awarded to Theo Garnett, who contributed well to a fine Cleve performance.

Steve Bateman