Clifton Rugby Football Club History
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v Bristol 28th September 1932


played at the Memorial Ground

Bristol 6 Clifton 8

An account of the match appeared in The Western Daily Press on the 29th September 1932 and said


First Victory Over Bristol For 11 Years


BRISTOL, 6pts; CLIFTON, 8pts.

For the first time for 11 years, Clifton beat Bristol last night. They won by the narrow margin of eight points (a goal and a try) to six points (a penalty goal and a try) in a stern and exciting struggle on the Memorial Ground. Clifton secured the lead, lost it to Bristol, but regained it by a spectacular try.

The last time Clifton beat Bristol was in 1921, the year the Memorial Ground was opened, and they gained victory by nine points (3 tries) to five points (a goal). S.Carey obtained the first try which was for Bristol, and he converted it himself, but in the second half Castle, Ellis and Whitelaw obtained tries for Clifton.

That victory in 1921 was a memorable one for the previous victory of Clifton dated back to the 1889-90 season. In 1921 it must be stated that the Bristol team was not at full strength owing to Gloucestershire playing Devon on the same day.

Victory Well Deserved

Clifton deserved their victory last night because of the fine work of their forwards and the way they snapped up their chances. Territorially they had the worst of the game and their backs did not compare with Bristol for quick and clever handling, but by splendid defensive methods they held their opponents out and when chances came made full advantage of them. The two tries were really the outcome of quick breakaways which caught Bristol completely unawares.

For a long time the play was very even, but Bristol had just the better of the exchanges. Just before the interval, however, Clifton gave the home side a shock, Burrough, on the left-wing, broke away and almost got over before he was brought down. From the scrummage Wells, the scrum-half, secured possession and flung himself over. Neale kicked a goal.

Lead Changes Hands

With the possibilities of defeat facing them Bristol attacked continuously in the second half, and after five minutes the Clifton defence was penetrated. Foord cut through the defence cleverly and handed on to Moncrieffe, who set Spilsbury in motion. The wing ran for the corner, drew the defence and then turned sharpley towards the centre to elude three men and score. Evans failed badly with the kick and Clifton still had a lead of two points.

Still pressing, Bristol narrowly missed taking the lead when the ball from a penalty kick taken by Spilsbury hit the upright. Eventually Spilsbury gave the home side the lead by kicking a penalty goal.

It looked as if Bristol were going to win their first inter-club match by a single point for they did most of the attacking and appeared capable of holding their small advantage.

The Winning Try.

Then, however, came the winning try for Clifton. Hall slipped in to intercept a pass between Barker and Moncrieffe 15 yards from the Clifton half, and he raced away. Just before reaching the half-way line Hall handed on to Wells, who tore away and outstripped the defence which was hopelessly out of position. Several Bristol players chased him but Wells, gained on them and grounded the ball without being touched.

Try as hard as they could Bristol could not recover their position and had to admit defeat, for the opposing defence withheld all the desperate onslaughts made on it.

The Clifton forwards all played a sterling game. They secured possession from the majority of scrums, and in the loose they were faster and quicker than Bristol. They kept well together and brought off many good rushes both in attack and counter attack. Osmond proved himself a good hooker, and players prominent for good all-round work were Foss, Richards and Corpe.

Moderate Clifton Backs

Behind the scrum Clifton were only moderate, and if the backs had been able to make full use of their chances they would have won easily. There were, however, few combined movements and the handling was poor. They resorted to much kicking and allowed their forwards to carry on - the right policy under the circumstances.

At the base of the scrum Wells did not get the ball away at all well and was many times smothered by Tucker, whilst Hall, at stand-off was not able to open up the three-quarters, who were seldom able to get going.

Wells and Hall, however, were the two players who were largely responsible for the victory, for they saw the chances and took them with alacrity.

In defence all the backs were splendid and they tackled with grim determination.

Bristol's Better Football

Bristol played the better football, were a better balanced side and maintained an open, interesting game. The forwards were able to give their backs plenty of chances, and time and time again they were seen in spectacular passing movements which had some skill and thrustfulness in them.

Barker, for instance took Tucker's quick passes smartly and often slipped through the defence, whilst Foord and Moncrieffe frequently burst through in promising styles. whilst there was no lack of dash and pace from Spilsbury and Rugg on the wings, but they could not command sufficient thrustfulness to pierce the fine defence. But for the unsuccessful finishing the Bristol backs displayed good form.

Patten gave a fine exhibition at full-back, and Evans too, was very sound. In the Bristol forwards F. Tucker, Evans and Jones were conspicuous.

Bristol were, of course, without Burland, Brown, Gregory, Dowling and several other first-team players.