Errors and yellows see TJs edged out by a point

Errors and yellows see TJs edged out by a point

It was TJs who got on the scoreboard first after five minutes with a Will Robinson penalty. But concerted Clifton pressure saw Bradley Barnes equalise with a kick of his own.

Winger Hugo Watson went close to a try but then came a dropped pass, the first of a number of errors by TJs brought about by the aggressive Clifton defence.

The cover was good as Clifton countered but quick recycling sent the ball out left for full-back Chris Levesley to score, fly-half Barnes converting.

This score signalled a good spell for Clifton and from a lineout the home pack mauled the ball over TJs’ line for prop Mark Roberts to touch down.

As the first half came to an end TJs’ lock Jack Nay won a lineout on Clifton’s 10-metre line and, exploiting a wide gap in the defence, galloped all the way in for a try in the corner which was unconverted.

Resuming 17-8 down after the break, another dropped pass by TJs gifted the ball to Clifton and a penalty for a high tackle allowed Barnes to stretch the lead with a penalty.

But TJs now applied concerted pressure on the home line and the ball was spun out right then left, winger Watson coming through on the burst to touch down with Robinson converting.

TJs’ attack resumed, penalties put them within touching distance of the line again and under great defensive pressure the home side’s hooker, Luke Stratford, was yellow-carded.

Dave Irvine, performing well at the line-out, won the ball and a well-drilled maul took the ball over the line for hooker Ryan Jackson to dot down.

Robinson added the extras and the visitors had suddenly taken a two-point lead, though with half an hour remaining there was a long way to go to hold on to it.

Then TJs’ replacement lock Josh Groocock was yellow-carded for a high tackle and Barnes kicked the penalty to take Clifton back into the lead at 23-22.

Then winger Murray Galbraith-Lowe was also yellow-carded for an early tackle on the ball-catcher – though the kick at goal hit the post and bounced back into play.

But a series of penalties in the closing stages effectively dashed TJs’ chances of stealing a win as the game became increasingly ragged.

The result sees TJs drop to second place. Now they take on Esher at The Slade on Saturday (November 23, kick-off 2.30pm).

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