Renewed mental resolve proves its worth for stretched Claymores

17th March 2015

The Claymores have endured a difficult period during their last few fixtures in Shield 3.

Difficult as a result of a number of injuries and some work commitments within the senior squad, as well as the ambition within the club to field four regular senior teams in the leagues.

It started on the 21st of February when they faced Richmond Normans and with all three other senior teams at home, all stretched in numbers, they battled on but lost the game 31-10.

The previous game between the two teams was won by the Claymores in a much healthier state.

It continued with the bare bones of a team in the next two games losing at home against league leaders Redingensians (17-37) and away at Rosslyn Park (50-5).

However on Saturday the 14th of March, with 14 men, the Claymores decided that in the return fixture v Rosslyn Park to put things right despite the obvious challenge.

Seven forwards were fielded, no proper second rowers and two of the forwards on the day, Mark Canning and Finn Taylor, usually play in backs.

The game started well for a fired up Scottish team with a try by centre Conrad Edgar, making his way back from a long injury layoff.

Angus Clogg converted and the team continued the play with intensity, pace and working hard to be effective at ruck time with the one man disadvantage.

A couple of real chances went astray and Park managed to get their hands on the ball and scored two tries in succession (25th and 28th min) making it 7-12 for the visitors.

Scottish took back the onus by playing a mix style of moving the ball to space and using ball carriers to be more direct, which resulted in a power try finished off by young but big number eight, Ashton Jones-Obikpo after a Edgar surge up midfield.

The conversion by Clogg was successful.

Now leading 14-12 the team gave away a penalty from the restart for Park to take the three points before they added another three points.

Scottish was pushed to defend their line in the last few minutes of the half, as Park was trying to use the one man advantage to finish the half with a good lead.

Pascal Baptiste started a counter attack from his own line making plenty of ground to offload to support before following to receive the final pass to score under the sticks.

The try was converted by Clogg again to lead 21-18 at the break.

The second half again started well for the determined Claymores team and Finn Taylor, flanker (normally on the wing) picked up a ball from a pressure seven man scrum by Scottish to score five minutes in.

Angus Clogg made it 4 from 4 and the lead was now ten points.

Rosslyn Park worked hard for their next try as Scottish were putting in everything in defence.

The score was now 28-25 for the home side with 25 minutes to go.

The Claymores did not stop their endeavour to look for tries and young full back/winger Alex Brooke scored in the 60th minute but Clogg this time could not claim the extras from the touchline.

With 13 minutes to go a tackle by scrum-half, Jason Wycherley, was deemed dangerous and a yellow was issued leaving Scottish with 13 men to try and stave off a Park team smelling blood.

Park added an unconverted try to leave it all to play for in the last 11 minutes with Scottish hanging on with a 33-30 lead.

On the day, determination, belief and bloody mindedness from the Claymores served them well as Park could not capitalise despite numerous attacks.

A well deserved win and great performance from a group of players that just wanted to win, play the game with belief and enjoyed the challenge.

A big turnaround and this has set the marker for what the Claymores stand for despite challenges that might present itself.

Man of the match – all 14 Claymores players on the day!

1. Dan Neal
2. Jake Ashton
3. Louis Keen
4. Ashton Jones-Obikpo
5. Mark Canning
6. Finn Taylor
7 & 8. Harry McCartney (v/capt)
9. Jason Wycherley
10. Angus Clogg (capt)
11. Alex Brooke
12. Conrad Edgar
13. Alex Crisp
14. Pascal Baptiste
15. Vincent Lux

SubscrIbe for the latest news and offers direct to your inbox.