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Loan watch: Dings take the derby spoils

Fifteen Bears players were in dual-registration action over the weekend, with Dings beating Clifton in a derby thriller and Hartpury making a winning start to the Championship season.


Report and photos courtesy of John White / Dings Crusaders.

National Two
Dings 43-24 Clifton

Dings turned on the style, out-scoring their cross-city rivals by six-tries to three, to secure their first-ever victory over Clifton at Shaftesbury Park. Dings have now beat Clifton twice in a row - their last, a dramatic last-gasp 32-31 win at Station Road at the end of last season.

Crusaders made a rip-roaring start and opened the scoring with their first attack of the game. A few quick phases of play was finished off by outstanding No8 Buster Lawrence. TJ Wilstead, who had another eye-catching performance at fly-half, added the conversion from straight in front of the sticks.

Dings continued to press from the re-start and extended their scoreboard advantage shortly after. This time the ball was shifted across the backline, allowing wing Matthew Jones to dive into the corner for Dings’ second try.

Clifton hit back with a penalty from in front of the posts by stand-off Luke Cozens on eight-minutes, but the home side were relentless, and charged back up field during their next set of possession to add a third-try. Wing Sol Taufa cantered in under the posts for his maiden league try in Crusaders' colours since joining from Avonmouth Old Boys during the summer. Wilstead converted. Dings had the try bonus-point in the bag on 28 minutes after another dazzling break by Wilstead was polished off by flanker Costa Galatalis. Wilstead's conversion opened up a 26-3 lead.

Stern words beneath the Clifton posts from player-coach Cozens appeared to galvanise the visitors and they looked more focused and determined as a result. The lavender & blacks struck next with the first of two superb tries from Sam Worsley, who also slotted the extras to make it 26-10 at the turnaround.

Clifton got the opening score of the second-half, thanks to Worsley’s quick thinking and a rapid dash to the line for a try he also converted to close the gap to 26-17. But crucially, Dings got the next score with Lawrence going over in the corner following a break from former Clifton flanker Chris Rovery. Wilstead added the extras from the touchline.

Danny Openshaw nipped in for Clifton from a quick tap penalty to cut the gap again, but the day belonged to the home side, with Wilstead picking off a wayward pass and going in for Dings’ sixth try of the afternoon. Dings finished in the ascendency, with Wilstead adding a penalty to put the icing on the cake after a series of drives close to the Clifton line was stopped illegally.

Clifton coach Matt Salter lamented a slow start by his charges. He said: “We found ourselves 19-3 down early on and we were unable to recover from that. Twice we fought back to within nine-points, but we didn’t get the next score that might have made the game different. We have to start better than we did today.”

Dings scores: Buster Lawrence 1, 43, Matthew Jones 5, Sol Taufa 12, Costa Galatalis 28, Wilted 69. Conversions: Wilstead 2, 13, 29, 44, 70. Penalty: Wilstead 79.

Clifton scorers: Sam Worsley 34, 41, Dan Openshaw 47. Conversions: Worsley 35, 42, 48. Penalty: Cozens 8.

Dings: 15 Arscott; 14 Jones, 13 Smith, 12 Harrison, 11 Taufa, 10 Wilstead, 9 Knight; 1 Turner, 2 Thompson, 3 English, 4 Bilton, 5 Casson, 6 Galatalis, 7 Beer, 8 Lawrence. Replacements: 16 Appleton, 17 Hawkesby, 18 Rovery, 19 Plummer, 20 Brooker.

Clifton: 15 Howman; 14 Sharp, 13 Nel, 12 Owen, 11 Kilbane, 10 Cozens, 9 Openshaw; 1 Cano, 2 Stretch, 3 Giltrow, 4 Murphy, 5 Myatt, 6 Wilson, 7 Woodward, 8 Duncan. Replacements: 16 Wheeler, 17 Charalambous, 18 Wells, 19 Hamid, 20 Worsley.

In the GKIPA Championship, James Dun and Charlie Powell were both in action as Jersey Reds made a strong start to the new league season in scoring five tries and claiming maximum points against Ampthill at the Olney Arena in Dillingham Park.

George Kloska and Aaron Tull made their debuts for Bedford Blues who suffered defeat on Championship opening night as they were edged out 26-18 by old rivals Coventry.

It was a contest where Mike Rayer's side showed in glimpses what they had been working so hard on during pre-season, but ultimately ill-discipline in critical areas of the field proved costly as Bedford's disappointing record at Butts Park Arena continued. 

Elsewhere in the Championship, four Bears were in action for Hartpury as they battled to victory at Caldy RFC.

Aristot Benz-Salomon, Oscar Lennon, Jac Lloyd and Joe Jenkins all featured for Pury, with Benz-Salomon scoring in a 22-33 victory.

In National League Two West, Old Reds, featuring Academy pair Ed Harvey and Jimmy Halliwell, were well beaten 44-15 at Luctonians, while Harry Rowson was on the scoresheet for Loughborough Students as they thrashed Stourbridge 25-54 in National League Two West.

In Regional One Tribute South West, Pete Carter's Chew Valley suffered a 22-15 defeat at Exmouth.


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