IN A tempestuous National Three clash at Regentsholme, Lydney clinched a vital 24-5 victory over Old Redcliffians to consolidate their spot at the top of the table.
Old Reds travelled to the Forest of Dean with the bragging rights - they are the only National Three side to beat Lydney this term, and the Severnsiders were acutely aware of this.
The visitors made their intentions clear in the opening minutes, with three kick-chase efforts that could have been converted by the chasers including pacy winger Henry Bird, but bounced out to touch.
Lydney cleared their lines each time, but fullback Tony Wicks was put under pressure early from the visitors.
The Severnsiders finally made it into Old Reds’ half but it was fruitless - after a crafty offload from Wicks to centre Josh Innes, possession was squandered with wayward passing.
Lydney’s pressure in the Reds 22 continued. From a solid scrum, the ball was fed along the attacking line, before Reds were penalised and Lydney opted to kick to the corner.
From the five metre line-out, another dropped pass gifted possession to Reds. The visitors cleared their lines to the hands of winger Jack O’Connell but the counter-attack was ended prematurely with a knock-on.
Lydney kept the pressure on and dynamic play from O’Connell, Innes and fly-half Chris Holder looked promising, before the hosts were penalised at the breakdown for going over the top.
After several squandered chances, Lydney finally capitalised.
From a line-out, Lydney seized possession and after series of pick-and-goes, lock Dave Bennett crashed over. Wicks duly added the extras and Lydney were 7-0 up after 23 minutes.
Winger O’Connell came off to be replaced by Tai Lacabuka, as Lydney continued to squander chances with sloppy handling in difficult conditions.
A brawl broke out, and as loose head Price and Reds number eight Dan Fry were both binned and walking off the pitch, an altercation between the two caused a huge fight, and for Fry to have an asthma attack.
Referee Chris Newton had no choice - both sides were down to 14 men.
Tempers threatened to erupt once more as the clock ran down to halftime, but neither side could make a dent on the scoreboard and it remained 7-0 to the hosts.
Reds were pinged at the breakdown early on in the second half, and Lydney increased their lead to 10-0 in the 45th minute, after Wicks kicked a difficult penalty cleanly through the posts.
Reds began to pressure as Lydney made silly decisions attacking with the ball in hand, and from a simple backs move behind the Severnsider’s defensive line, winger Sam Britton smashed over. The conversion from Ashley Groves dropped just short and the score was 10-5.
Lydney repsonded to the threat from the visitors in the right way - but despite the best efforts from the bulky forwards, the ball was held out on the line and Lydney were abruptly penalised.
Reds failed to clear their lines and but ill discipline was beginning to cost a frustrated Lydney who were pinged a further two times.
After yo-yoing possession in midfield, a grubber kick from Wicks gifted Lydney territory.
Reds failed to clear from the line-out and gave away a scrum on the five metre line, which allowed scrum-half Sam Arnott to go over and Wicks to add the extras.
Lydney led the war of attrition 17-5 with just over 10 minutes to go.
Another score came in the final few minutes, as Reds capitulated under the pacesetters’ pressure.
A kick to the corner planted Lydney firmly in the visitors’ 22, and Dewi Scourfield took his chance to cross the white line.
Wicks kicked another conversion for a 100 per cent record and Lydney streaked 24-5 clear.
With the victory secure, Lydney desperately sought a try-scoring bonus point but the hosts ran out of time.
LYDNEY: T Wicks, J Hannam, J Innes, D Scourfield, J O’Connell (T Lacabuka, 32), C Holder, S Arnott, P Price, M Wallace, S Whinchcombe, D Bennett, B Scriven, W Jones (c), M Boobyer, J Roberts (D Bell, 43)
OLD REDCLIFFIANS: H Goldson, H Bird, D Harris, C Gervais, S Britton, A Groves, R Stephens, J Owen, J Hooper, J Morse, C Pursall, M Dew, S Fox, M Woodward, D Fry
REPLACEMENTS: L Wilson, M Kempton, G Beveridge
REFEREE: Chris Newton
STAR MAN: Dave Bennett