Nailsea & Backwell maintained their perfect start to their Counties 1 Tribute Western North season with a hard-fought 29-26 win in their North Somerset Derby with Clevedon RFC at Coleridge Vale this afternoon.

The Ravens stunned the hosts when, after good handling, Will Marley went over in the corner to make it 5-0 after two minutes.

Try scorer Marley (collarbone) would have to leave the field in the first of three injuries of the first half, the left prop did reappear in the second half, alongside Harry Marshall (AC joint) and Nick Badcock (knee).

The Seasiders took the lead after patient build-up in the 20th minute. Clevedon capitalised on a five-metre scrum and Brian Largenton picked the ball up to power over and spark jubilant scenes in front of the big crowd with Ethan Thomas adding the extras. 

But with six minutes to go before half-time the table leaders re-took the lead with a well-crafted try.

A classic move down the left-wing saw substitute Joey Collins slip the ball into the path of Ben Perfect, he evaded a couple of tackles before going over. Adam Grafton added the extras to make it 12-7 at half-time in favour of Nailsea & Backwell.

Needing to respond quickly, Clevedon grabbed an instant try three minutes after the break to go back in front.

Nailsea & Backwell made a mistake at the back and the Seasiders recycled the ball before it ends up with Rory McGuigan, who went over in the corner on the far side. Ethan Thomas was once again successful with his kick.

Moments later the Ravens moved back in front through. An inch perfect pass over the top was picked up by Perfect to over in the corner for his second try of the game to make it 17-14.

Thomas had a chance to level the scores but he sent his penalty wide in the 48th minute and Nailsea & Backwell took advantage to increase their lead through Perfect once again to make it 22-14.

The left-wing kept the ball in play superbly with his foot after another superb ball over the top, he showed great strength to move forward and dived over in the corner to complete his hat-trick.

Charlie Tucker cut the scores again when he went over in the corner in the 61st minute to make it 22-19 in an end-to-end game.

Two minutes later the Ravens looked to have put the game out of Clevedon’s reach when Jamie Sullivan was allowed to run the length of field to go under the posts. Grafton added the extras to make it 29-19. 

But to Clevedon’s credit they never gave up and in similar fashion to their win at Midsomer Norton set up a grandstand finish with their fourth try of the afternoon 11 minutes from time.

McGuigan showed great strength to go over in the corner and Thomas added the extras to make it 29-26 and give the Seasiders hope of salvaging something from the game.

But Nailsea & Tickenham held firm with resolute defending to deny Clevedon and earn their fifth successive bonus point victory of the season.