Clifton Rugby Football Club History
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v Richmond 29th April 2006

 
 
 

The play-off for promotion to National Division Three South at Richmond. On May 1st 2006 the Bristol Evening Post wrote

Clifton will return to the national leagues after four years next season following this play-off victory over highly-fancied Richmond .

Fly-half John Barnes was the key figure as he not only scored all Clifton 's points but his tactical kicking and skilful ball distribution kept the side going forward for long periods.

In front of a large crowd, Clifton had first use of a strong swirling wind and quickly found holes in the Richmond defence with breaks by centres Olly Sills and Barnaby Kent.

Despite dominating territorially they were unable to score a try due to the resolute defence. The opening score came after 22 minutes when following a drive from a line-out Clifton's pack worked play infield and when the ball came back from the driving maul Barnes dropped a goal.

During the first half Richmond looked dangerous on the break and centre Joe Ajuwa made several powerful runs.

Although outweighed up front Clifton continued to dominate and in the 35th minute Barnes was given his only opportunity to take a penalty kick and the ball flew between the posts from 40 metres. This was soon followed by his second drop goal.

After the break, Richmond put Clifton under tremendous pressure for 20 minutes. The visitors' defence was equal to the task though and they held firm, with their back row outstanding, and achieved turnovers at vital moments. The only reward for Richmond was a penalty from close range kicked by full-back Matt Hart.

On the hour Clifton survived a succession of close-range scrums and with that the Richmond effort began to fade. The game then turned Clifton's way through Barnes' tactical kicking and a string of turnovers.

With five minutes remaining, poor handling in the Richmond backs saw them concede a scrum close to their own line. The ball came quickly back on the Clifton side and scrum-half Dan Frost set up a position for Barnes to drop his third goal.

The kick took the game out of Richmond 's reach and in the six minutes of injury-time they failed to threaten the Clifton line and the West Countrymen travelled home victorious.

Clifton : R.Voil; A.Bell, O.Sills, B.Kent, S.Kent; J.Barnes, D.Frost; R.White, T.Lambert, G.Shortman, M.Kempton, R.Cox, E.Smith, C.Steetskamp, J.Levis. Reps: B.Harvey, C.Trump, P.Morgan, C.James.