Carpenter remembers Clevedon's Bristol Combination Vase triumph
- Credit: Kev Weaver
Back in 2015, Clevedon secured the Bristol Combination Vase for the first, and so far only, time in their history when they beat Bristol Saracens 32-15 in the final at The Hayfields, Mangotsfield, Bristol.
The competition, which makes up one of the five bodies that make up the Gloucestershire Rugby Football Union, was founded in 2003.
Will Carpenter, who captained the side and scored 12 points, shares his memories from that night.
"Any time you win a trophy is pretty special, but that season, winning the Combination Plate capped a huge turnaround to our season," he said.
"At Christmas, we were sat rock bottom of South West One and looking nailed on for relegation, but in the New Year, we were able to turn it all around and string some good results together.
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"We won 10 of our last 13 games, including seven in a row, to finish 10th in the table and avoid the drop, but the highlight of the season was definitely the cup run.
"After Christmas, we benefitted from the return from injury of some very key senior players, who rallied the group and got us back firing."
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Clevedon started explosively and raced into a 10-0 lead courtesy of a Carpenter penalty and a converted Josh Mortimore try.
Saracens hit back with a well-worked score of their own, but Dave Rawle added Clevedon’s second try on 25 minutes with Carpenter knocking over the extras for a 15-5 lead.
Saracens hit back just before half-time to cut the deficit to five points, but Rory Biggins then played down any worries when he powered his way over from 10 yards.
Oscar James extended the lead to 13 points, with Carpenter adding the extras, and although Saracens did score again for their third try of the contest the damage was already done and Clevedon secured some long-awaited silverware.
Carpenter added: "The final itself was a pretty tough battle against a gutsy Bristol Saracens side, but we eventually ground them down and pulled away in the second half.
"It was obviously an honour to captain my hometown club to some silverware, but that season, the win was about the team's redemption and fightback more than anything.
"To start the season so poorly but finish it with a trophy was just reward for a lot of hard work post-Christmas - credit to the head coach at the time, Nick Hill, for pulling the lads together and helping us turn it around."