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Sat 22
1st XV
Cleobury Mortimer
Cannock 18 V 38 Cleboury

Cannock 18 V 38 Cleboury

By Soccer Jon Freeman
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Cleboury winners after a hard fought battle on the road at Cannock.

Cannock were looking to shore-up their home form this weekend, with 4 wins on the road it is their usually impeccable home defiance that has been found wanting this season. The day started brightly, perfect conditions for two teams who always look to play attractive rugby, pre-game preparations were crisp and confidence was high.
The game began with Cannock dominating early exchanges, ball carries from Humphries and Ley in the centres setting up a platform for scrum-half Murphy. Ill-discipline from the Cleboury back-row giving away early penalties, the usually accurate Pincombe looking to slot home a 3 pointer from his own half narrowly missing wide but easily having the legs. From the 22 restart Cannock re-asserted the pressure and were to camp in the visitors 5m area for several minutes, from a short range scrum that collapsed the back row drove Freeman over the line to see him held up, the away team giving away penalty after penalty was the only way Cannock could be repelled- however the repeated and sustained infringements were not punished and after absorbing so pressure Cleboury were able to release the valve and deflate Cannock’s bubble by working up the pitch and scoring 7 points with their first visit to Cannock’s 22. As possession was interchanged a clear knock-on was missed and Cannock unprofessionally stopped play allowing Cleboury to recover the fumble and attack against a static and disjointed defensive line, despite having the majority of the play Cannock found themselves 0-14. Pincombe slotted a penalty after further indiscipline from the visitors, and Cannock began to see ball moved to the wings allowing Blake and Palmer to get into the game out wide. The home team finally crossed the whitewash late in the first half. Freeman picked up from the base of the scrum, stepping past the opposition flanker to feed the supporting Brad Stanaway (good to see him back) who drew the winger and offloaded to the oncoming Pedley who danced down the side lines and around the back of the defence to dot down a classy try.

Half-time left the game delicately poised but there was nothing delicate on the pitch- a great physical battle between two teams with the intent of leaving everything on the pitch, Cannock were desperate to get the first score when the game commenced.
An attacking lineout gave Cleboury possession and the 13 scored after running a worldy of a line through the Cannock defence, and his centre partner added another score after a clever offload from the visiting 7. Hard work form the tight forwards, Davies, Barrett, Lathe and Baugh saw ball recycled quickly and Cannock began to re-build pressure, clever hands from Frost put player/coach Halil into space with numbers outside of him, hands along the line saw Pedley running another nice line to get his second of the day.
The moment of the day was a gargantuan hit from Cleboury’s 12 on Cannock’s 10, a tackle line that began weeks ago, like hurricane Matthew building up off shore, resulting in a matrix like collision, both players appeared to become one, like subatomic particles smashing together in the large hadron collider, some onlookers believed they had witnessed the creation of a temporary black hole (they were mistaken- but that’s what they believed).
After losing Hampton with suspected concussion Cannock added a penalty and the scores were 18-26, Cannock still looking to earn that first home win of the season. This was not going to be easy as Cleboury still looked dangerous despite big hits from Lovell and Kaine. This was not to be the case as Cleboury added more points after solid defence from Cannock was eventually broken for the visiting 8 to crash over from short range.
In the final moments of the game Cannock were running the ball from their own 22 in an attempt to close the deficit and pick up the losing bonus point, however Cleboury turned the ball over and from a driving maul that was stopped and repelled several times were able to break free and end the game with a 6th try.
This fixture is always a brutal affair that is played in the right spirit and today the better team won. Cannock had enough possession to get closer on the score line but they need to learn from the precision that Cleboury demonstrated both on attack and on defence- I’m sure coach will already be working on this and the train will be back on the tracks next week when

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Match details

Match date

Sat 22, Oct 2016




Midlands 3 West (North)

League position

Cleobury Mortimer