Claxton double earns Old Elthamians a narrow victory

Birmingham Mosleley 22
Old Elthamians 23
By Jon Edwards at Billesley Common

A first half try double from Ollie Claxton was enough to secure Elthamians their first win in three games in dramatic fashion at Birmingham Moseley last Saturday.

The live wire scrum-half struck twice in 10 minutes to bring OEs back in to contention after they went behind 14-3 early on. His man of the match performance proved to be the difference between two sides.

Elthamians survived a scare late on in this thrilling National One encounter when Moseley full-back Cliffie Hodgson missed two penalties in the closing moments that would have snatched a home victory.

It was a nervy end to a game which had seen the home side come flying out of the blocks, scoring two tries in the opening half hour through flanker Zak Xiourouppa from driven lineouts in the OEs 22.

Hilton Gibbons got the visitors on the scoreboard with a penalty before Claxton took centre stage, first racing over from 40m after a great break from centre Ciaran McGann, then darting over from a five metre scrum on the stroke of half-time.

Leading 15-14 at the interval, OEs were reduced to 14 men at the start of the second period when centre George Eastwell was shown a yellow card for not rolling away at the tackle, and Moseley were quick to capitalise, retaking the lead with a Hodgson penalty.

Elthamians hit back with their third try of the afternoon on 54 minutes when full-back Louis Brown burst through two tackles to touch down in the corner. But this end to end contest took another twist when centre Matt Dight gave Moseley the lead for the third time when he went over in the corner after slick hands from his inside backs.

With Moseley leading 22-20 and the game evenly poised going into the final 10 minutes, the Elthamians pack drove deep into the home 22 and secured what was to prove a vital penalty as Brown slotted the kick between the posts.

There was still time for Hodgson to hit both the crossbar and upright with a penalty attempt and a second kick fell short as OEs held on for a crucial victory.

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