Clifton end the season in style

Clifton Rugby Club’s final home game of the 2023-24 season was completed in great style with an eight-try, 52 points demolition of close rivals Exeter University that secured them a creditable third place in the Rugby Football Union’s National League 2.

Director of rugby Matt Salter and player/ coach Luke Cozens can be well satisfied with this ending as the season was marked early on as a development time. Several players had retired or moved on pre season. Consequently new players had to be absorbed into the squad. During the season the club also incurred a high level of injuries. However, undaunted by changes, the team even managed to defeat the two teams finshing above them on their own grounds.

The development process in recent seasons has included the resurgence of successful second and third string teams to provide attractive routes into the national league team. Second team, Clifton Wanderers, has grown many players who have been able to take the step up to that level.

A shining example is forward Shay Sainsbury who has become one of the leading second row men across the league. Typical of the spirit within the club, Shay has generously given time to coach within the club’s thriving M & J [Mini and Junior] section.

Luke Cozens has proved a motivational presence both on and off the pitch through his vast experience over the years and outstanding kicking in all conditions. Cozens comments: “There is a great spirit in this squad which has missed several established members through injury. Encouragement comes from so many younger players seizing opportunities to take their places in the starting line up and showing themselves capable of performing at this level “

This blend of experience with youthful energy is presenting the club to go forwards in coming seasons.
Success in the junior teams has been demonstrated by the Under 16 XV which has won the Bristol Combination cup for the third season.

The club benefits from long standing members and local businesses who provide sponsorship of matches, shirts and individual players. 1st XV players eagerly await the announcement of the man of the match award with a meal for two at the Clifton Sausage!

The costs of running a national league club including long away trips to venues requiring overnight accommodation stretching from West Cornwall to Chester are considerable. In addition the junior section offers coaching and matches to approaching three hundred young people each week.

Anyone interested in sponsorship arrangements or advertising in the match day programme please contact Alison Harvey, commercial manager,

Roger Opie