Worth Village (H)
Clayton finish with nine try rout!
Clayton secured a entertaining, rampaging victory against Worth Village, in their final league game of the regular season. After last weekend's agonising defeat to title rivals Brighouse Rangers, Clayton were looking to bounce back and restore some confidence before the Bradford Cup Final showdown with Bradford Victoria Rangers, on Sunday 1 May. Before kick off, things did not look as promising as coach Scott Pendlebury would have hoped. With numerous injuries and holidays, Clayton were down to their bare bones and were only able to name a squad of 16, which ultimately was reduced to 15 with work commitments. The Clayton pack had an unfamiliar look about it, but with Phil Redgrave packing down at loose forward, between the two old stalwarts Scott Pendlebury and Johnny Alderson, Clayton were in safe hands. The heavy rain beforehand meant for a muddy affair, but to their credit, Clayton seemed to get better as the game progressed and especially towards the end of the second half, scored some attractive looking tries.
In a muddy opening, several knock on's interrupted the flow of the game, but playing down the slope, Clayton gradually gained an upper hand of proceedings. After initial pressure was repelled, a great inside switch ball by Devon Gurney sent Jamie Waterman powering over from 20 metres out. Ryan Wilkinson, who finished with 9/10, to continue his impressive conversion ratio, easily added the extras. After a further quiet period, Clayton finished the half with a flourish. Phil Redgrave spotted the narrowest of gaps from dummy half and set off down field. With half back Jimmy Waddington in support, Redgrave handed the ball on for Waddington to go the distance and double Clayton's lead. With 2 minutes of the half remaining, Ryan Wilkinson added a further cushion, pushing the score out to 14-0 with a penalty goal, before Redgrave ensured full reward just before the interval, kicking through before smartly regathering and finding the supporting Waddington flying through to touch down. From a potentially difficult position, Clayton found themselves turning around 20-0 to the good.
The second half was a fitting way to conclude the regular season, Clayton scoring at will, against tiring opponents. To their credit, Worth Village never gave in, and were only denied a couple of consolation tries by tremendous ball and all tackles by David Harrison. Firstly, Simon Metcalfe powered over, straight from a promising scrum position. This was quickly followed by a mirror image brace from Phil Redgrave. He started and finished moves, supporting two clean breaks up the middle before taking the scoring passes. Shortly afterwards, a brilliant delayed pass by Devon Gurney gave Christian Wooler a walk in to the sticks. That wasn't the end of the scoring and Clayton were really beginning to get going in attack. Showing good hands down the short touchline side, Scott Pendlebury weaved his way within a couple of metres of the tryline. Hooker Josh Lanfear then did the rest, diving over from short distance. Finally, to round off proceedings, Devon Gurney started and finished a sublime move up the middle, taking the scoring pass from Redgrave and finishing with aplomb.
Clayton could look back on a hugely successful season, which contained only two league defeats. Both those defeats came against Brighouse Rangers and to press, Clayton still harbour hopes of securing the league title, but they are relying on Brighouse coming a cropper in both their final league outings. For Clayton, the small matter of a Bradford Cup Final game against Bradford Victoria Rangers to come, on Sunday 1 May at Odsal Stadium.