CLAVERDON look ahead to hosting bottom-side Redditch on Saturday in the hunt for a second win of the year, after a 32-26 victory away to Pershore last weekend achieved a double over their rivals.
A handling error within the first few moments of the match allowed Pershore to progress up the pitch within the opening few minutes, securing a first try and the conversion to lead 7-0.
Claverdon attempted to hit back immediately but found that Pershore were equally motivated to run the ball back into their own territory, thankfully for the visitors, Alex Holden and Matt Dunster were on hand to put a stop to any momentum that the hosts had from gaining the lead.
The hosts did eventually break through again after some poor play gifted Pershore a number of penalties, with three conceded in the space of two minutes, whilst James Williams was sent to the sin bin after consistent offences.
Pershore opted to head into a scrum from the penalty, which paid off as they bundled over for a second time to lead 14-0.
Smart play from Tom Hudson put Claverdon in a promising position for the first time in the game following the restart, edging into the Pershore 22 with some strong yards. Ben Webster, Josh Smallwood and Colin Marklew combined well with their supporting runs to each other to play through Luke Rogers to cross the line for 14-5, despite being down to 14 men.
The stronghold in the game that was gained by Rogers continued to be built upon by the visitors, as they played the ball wide through Dunster and James Gibney, but despite making it to the Pershore 5m line, an error led a breakdown in play.
A third try against the run of play was a sucker punch for Claverdon before the break, but they did find some reprieve going into half-time as Williams returned from the sin bin to waltz through the home defence and lay the ball down between the posts for a 19-12 scoreline.
The second-half opened with some drama, when Rogers came across the head of Pershore’s Joe Gisbourne at an awkward angle, requiring both club physios to attend to his injury as an ambulance arrived to the pitch, with proceedings forced to move onto another pitch nearby.
A Claverdon scrum on the Pershore 22 was how the game restarted, as Rogers picked up following great running from Holden and Dunster to secure a second try and bring it back to 19-17.
The game entered into a struggle to retain possession as Claverdon found themselves with a scrum inside the Pershore half. James Barton drew several defenders away before shifting the ball to Sam Turrell in support, who impressively beat a further four defenders en route to putting Claverdon in front 24-19.
Possession was maintained by Claverdon, who cultivated their chances with some clever play, allowing Ali Norman to secure a fourth try, before a high ball played from the restart saw Gibney chase down and eventually earn his side a penalty – which Barton converted for a 32-19 advantage.
That would prove to seal victory for the visitors, despite a consolation try from the Pershore scrum half making it 26-32.