Keynsham 36 - 33 Exeter University
What a difference a week makes! After a dire game previously when winning against Clevedon, this was a cracker. Playing the league leaders who had given Keynsham a rugby lesson in the reverse fixture at Exeter, the lads knew they had to give it their all and duly obliged.
A bright start with both teams playing with speed and cohesion set the tone. Exeter struck first with a try following a penalty kick to touch and the subsequent driving maul after 6 minutes, the conversion making it 0-7. Two minutes later Keynsham equalised with a try from second rower Matt Clifton and Sam Challenger’s conversion. 16 minutes gone and the visitors made it 7-14 with a replica of their first try; again, Keynsham responded and were eventually rewarded with a successful penalty from 35 metres out by Challenger. A fine move by the fluid students brought a further try as their right winger went over unopposed, the conversion missed so it was then 10-19. Two minutes before half-time saw Keynsham’s Clifton score his, and the teams’, second. Challenger’s conversion closing the gap to 2 points. From the kick-off Keynsham yielded a silly off-side penalty. The resultant kick to touch and line-out brought about try number 4 for the visitors, yet another carbon copy of tries 1 and 2; half time score 17-26.
Stand-off Joe Davis retired at half time with a dead leg and was replaced by Rob Breckon which enforced a subsequent reshuffle of the backline. Exeter extended their lead to 16 points when their right wing finished off a lovely move which had started deep inside their own half and their kicker added the icing. Keynsham seemed to change gear at this point and were beginning to stretch the students defence on a more regular basis. As the noise level from the crowd grew so their efforts became more and more. A sweet try by Bob Beacon closed the gap to 11 points and belief increased.
More pressure in the visitors’ red zone led to hooker Tom Loser scoring beside the posts giving Sam an easy job to add the extra points. The gap now just 4 points and looking at the possibility of at least 1, if not 2 bonus points, the pressure was rising still further as was the noise level. Just before the 30-minute mark a fourth Keynsham try was greeted with near hysteria – Jack Evans this time receiving the accolades – the conversion nudging Keynsham into a 3-point lead. The students then threw the kitchen sink at Keynsham, determined to regain the lead; truly brave and magnificent defending by all 15 players on the field denied them and as the home side were awarded a penalty for not releasing in injury time a famous victory ensued.
All set to go now for the Bath Combination Cup final on Wednesday – good luck. Thank you to Subway Keynsham who sponsored the match, we hope you enjoyed the day. Well done to Tom Lewis who was voted the Subway Man of the Match.
Clevedon 10 - 20 Keynsham
Firstly, great thanks to Clevedon for making the effort in getting this rearranged fixture played as they transferred the match to the nearby school 2nd team pitch, thus avoiding a log jam of games to be squeezed in before the end of the season.
Thereafter, it was a disappointing afternoon as both sides struggled to make any headway on a small, sloping and heavy ground; truly a game between a side already relegated and one struggling to stay up. 25 minutes in, the home side went ahead 5 nil through an unconverted try following a rolling maul. 10 minutes later Keynsham edged ahead 7-5 with a similar score claimed by Jack Evans (erroneously?), Sam Challenger adding the conversion. A fine break by winger Liam Murray lead to a try, subsequently disallowed as it was ruled that he had gone into touch before the last pass. But, just on half time Keynsham went 12-5 ahead from a try by Jack Weston – we think!
The second half had just begun when Challenger kicked a penalty to put the lads a further 3 points ahead and, before the 10-minute mark this lead was extended to 15 points when Toby Williams dotted down. Try as they might, they were unable to score what would have been a bonus point try and it was the home side who completed the scoring on the final whistle with another unconverted try.
An unsatisfying closed at 10-20 and 4 league points. The effort and energy put in by the Keynsham squad was impressive but the skills were of an individual basis and there was a lack of tactical nous.
Keynsham 19 - 32 Cullompton RFC
After an even opening 5 minutes Keynsham moved into the visitors 22 and were exerting some pressure when they gave away their first penalty – for not releasing when Cullompton were first to the tackle zone. On 13 minutes Keynsham put together umpteen phases from deep inside their own half and Matt Clifton went over for the first try of the game, this was converted by Sam Challenger to make the score 7-0. There was an immediate response from Cully levelling the scores through a try by their skipper and no 8 Sean Mardell, converted by centre Adam Pearce.
Within a couple of minutes Keynsham were ahead 14-7 following a steal from a maul by Jack Evans, a snipe by scrum half John Pearce who off-loaded to the supporting Clifford who notched up try no 2; Sam converted. The lead was to last but 7 minutes as Cullompton exploited gaps in K’s back-line defence to bag another fine try scored by wing-forward George Woofenden, with Pearce again adding the extra 2 points.
On the half hour, the visitors went ahead with an unconverted try by winger Jack Stoddard. A strange score to some degree as a grubber to the touch line hit the corner flag but stayed in play, in goal. A promising Keynsham attack shortly thereafter was halted by a knock on - a penalty opportunity was to follow and Sam’s shot was successful. 35 minutes gone and there was a long delay following an injury to the home side’s scrum-half John Pearce, who had to stay down until an ambulance arrived some time later. The game transferred to the adjacent pitch for the duration with Keynsham shuffling their resources in the back line; Liam Murray entering the fray on the wing.
Despite the best of efforts from both teams there were no more scores in the rest of the half. So, the first half was fairly even with the visitors just edging the scoring 17-19.
Cully made it abundantly clear that they were playing for keeps and quickly ran in their 4th and bonus point try just 2 minutes into the second half. This was a well-conceived and well taken try by full back Ross Toms, Pearce’s conversion making it 17-26. Keynsham had an opportunity after 10 minutes as a penalty kick to touch gave them a line-out close to the line but Cully turned it over. Ryan Harding and Tom Lewis took over from Phil Harvey and Sam Williams at this point.
14 minutes gone and the visitors made it 17-29 with a penalty by Pearce. Keynsham the lost another opportunity near the line due to ill-discipline (frustration with their performance taking over?). Cullompton scored what was to be the last points of the game on 30 minutes by dint of a penalty by Toms, who was later short with a long-range attempt. Keynsham’s spirit was not lacking, but generally not a good day for players and spectators alike; on the plus side John Pearce did get back from hospital in time for a libation or two.
Our thanks to the Cullompton physio who took on the role for both teams in the second half, as Will was looking after Pearcy.
Drybrook 29 - 8 Keynsham RFC
Keynsham ventured into the Forest of Dean to play high the flying Drybrook. With the ground in good condition, albeit slightly damp on the top layer, and good conditions the stage was set for an enjoyable game to ensue. The players on both sides did not disappoint, with plenty of skill, speed and effort on display.
The home side went ahead in the eighth minute with a try from Mitch Hale converted by Tom Treherne, to witch Keynsham replied by prop Phil Harvey; this came from a series of phases following a penalty which lead to a line-out 7 metres out. The conversion narrowly missed so the score stayed at 7-5. Keynsham were in defence mode when hooker Tom Lewis broke clear and dashed 40 + metres before being stopped. Keynsham then had a penalty shot to nudge then into the lead and Sam Challenger duly did the business; 7-8.
After Keynsham were marched back 10 following a penalty award Treherne took the opportunity to put Drybrook back in front 10-8. Further indiscipline cost Keynsham two players whilst they were under pressure near their own line and the home side duly took their chance almost immediately and touched down for their second try, Danny Price going over almost unopposed: Treherne’s 2 points made it 17-8. A loose kick from defence (not the only time this was to occur!) gave Drybrook the chance to run the ball back and winger Mitch Baldwin made fully 60 metres before being pulled down. Further pressure on the visitors’ line followed but stout and resolute defence forced a relieving penalty and brought the half to a close.
Keynsham, back to full strength shortly after the re-start were under significant pressure for the opening 10 minutes but the strength of the pack and overall defensive organisation prevented Drybrook from going further ahead. This storm weathered, it was Keynsham’s turn to attempt to turn the screw; they created a few of scoring chance but they came to nowt, this time Drybrook’s defence showing what they could do. After 27 minutes, Challenger had a shot at goal to try to reduce the deficit to more manageable 6 points but his kick sailed wide of the mark.
To add to this disappointment, 3 minutes later Drybrook got their third try, Mitch Baldwin crossing near the line and making it to under the posts for an easy conversion by Treherne – 24-8. Keynsham again caused some discomfort to the home defence but again could not make it count on the score board, over excitement or tiredness prevailed. Deep into over-time Keynsham should have cleared to touch but bravely, or foolishly, depending on one’s view, decided to run it back. This gave Drybrook their last chance at a 4th, and bonus point try: 7 phases then followed within the Keynsham 5 metre mark, culminating in a try by No 8 Matt Renton. We won’t talk about the conversion attempt! Final score 29-8.
The score did not tell the whole picture of the game and afterwards Drybrook’s players, officials and players were all very complementary about the performance of the whole squad, the pack being singled out en-bloc. If the team can put together another couple of performances like this then or spot in this league will be assured; if they don’t it could be squeaky bum time towards the end of the season – it’s up to you, guys!
Keynsham 32 - 25 Teignmouth
Playing against a stiff breeze it was the visitors who had the first chance to get on the score sheet but a penalty from right wing Jack Mayne was wide of the mark and after 19 minutes it was Keynsham who took the lead. It came from a blind-side break by John Pearce, and, from the ensuing ruck, Jack Weston fed the scrum half who slipped it to winger Kit Timmis for him to dive over in the corner; Sam Challenger converted for 7-0. Keynsham’s pack was under pressure in the scrums and a penalty led to a 15-metre lineout. The resulting catch and drive was halted but only at the expense of another penalty from which the catch/drive was successful, skipper/hooker Pete Parsons securing the try, but the conversion missed, 7-5.
Keynsham pressed again but an attacking lineout which went awry lost them an opportunity to add to their score. Nevertheless, they were soon 10-5 ahead when Challenger slotted a penalty.
Teignmouth’s reply was instant. From a retreating scrum swift hands and good running lines gave winger Will Sowden the opening he was looking for and he beat several tackles in his 30-metre run to the line; again, to K’s relief the conversion didn’t count. And so, at half time the scores were equal at 10 a piece but the honours had to go to the visitors who had more possession and made less mistakes.
Early in the second half Keynsham took a shot at goal from a penalty some 35 metres out but, against the wind Challengers kick was short. Two raking clearance kicks from this saw Teignmouth deep in their own 22 but the home side struck against the head and the danger was cleared. 7 mins in, saw Weston yellow carded for obstructing a clearance from a maul and 3 minutes later the visitors went into a 10-15 lead with an unconverted try by scrum half Kyran Rendle; further pressure on the home line was relieved when the defence forced Teignmouth to give away a penalty. Keynsham shuffled the pack with Jack Evans going in as hooker and Lewis Bush taking his place in the back row. 18 minutes into the second half Keynsham were deemed to have offended as the visitors were attempting to shove over at a 5-metre scrum; Sam Challenger, switched to scrum half, was sin-binned for diving on the ball on the line he thought, the ref thought otherwise, and a penalty try was the outcome – 10-22. Keynsham took a quick tap penalty, made ground and from the ensuing ruck, Pearce spotted a gap and shot through, and was then able to beat two despairing tackle attempts to dot down for try no 3 – the kick adding 2 points for Joe Davis. 17-22 and game on?
With about 10 minutes to go Mayne kick a penalty goal to stretch the lead back to 8 points but Challenger immediately replied with a penalty of his own. 7 minutes to go.
Suddenly, out of the blue, Keynsham went ballistic! 2 tries were to follow, almost identical in format. Keynsham got hold of the ball just outside their 22 and innumerable, phases later, were squatting on the Teignmouth line. This came about from the pack, mixing power play with off-loading and line running angles, and retaining control of the ball with the occasional minor input from the pretty-boys at the back.
Matt Clifton the fourth try and with Challengers kick hitting the upright the scores were tied 25-25. From the re-start those scenes were repeated almost exactly the one difference being that it was replacement prop and Subway kid Ryan Harding who touched down. The conversion by Challenger brought the game to and end 32-25.
5 league points hard won, commiserations to the visitors who, not for the first time this season apparently, lost in the last minute; they contributed in full to a very enjoyable game and deserved the 2 points they took back to Devon. Thank you.
Thank you to Godzown Sports for sponsoring the game and well done to Callum Fennell who received the Subway Man of the Match award.
Keynsham 19 - 23 Bridgwater & Albion
This was a huge improvement on these teams’ first meting earlier this season at Bridgwater. The game was played at pace throughout, both sides seeking every opportunity to attack, resulting in a game that swung from end to end repeatedly. The fact that it was a relatively low scoring match was in the main down to two very well-orchestrated defences but also due to over elaboration and over-enthusiasm from both sides.
Early pressure was exerted by the home side and many good forwards’ phases lead to an opening try scored by No8 Oakley Goodland, Sam Challengers conversion just dropping short from wide out. A charismatic 3 minutes by winger Bob Beacon was brought to a close through injury at the same time; he was replaced by Dan Moody, Ciaran Chester moving to the wing. BAR’s response was immediate when Keynsham were penalised for off-side and stand-off Stu Heal slotted the kick from 35 metres. This penalty was to be replicated time after time after time throughout the course of the game as the home side failed to meet the ref’s requirements and was to prove their downfall. Another penalty, taken quickly by Bridgewater ended with a try by their skipper, and man of the match, Ollie Dunn and the conversion from near the touch line by Heal made the score 5-10 after 14 minutes.
The visitors were soon on the attack again but an opportunist intercept by John Pearce saw the scrum-half scorch 70 metres to score by the post – Challenger adding the 2 points. Keynsham were back on the attack soon after and a catch and drive was halted near the line but from the ruck a good line from Moody and an inside pass from Kris Borthwick saw the replacement nip over for a try, Sammy again slotting the kick; so. It was 19-13 after about 25 minutes. Could Keynsham have scored again the final result may have been different but despite losing a second row 8 minutes from half time the visitors held on and even had a chance to claw back three points but Heal’s penalty missed; and so it remained 19-13.
7 minutes into the second half Bridgwater, now back to full numerical strength, narrowed the gap from a Heal penalty to just 3 points. Goodland and Phil Harvey were given a rest, replaced by Lewis Bush and Tim Coghlan at this point. An opportunity for the home side was lost when they gave away -guess what? - a penalty from the catch and drive. Several good runs from the mobile pair in the K’s second row – Matt Clifton and Rugbin Edwards – looked like they may open the Bridgy defence, but it held. A loose pass gave the visitors the opportunity for a break-away try but the ball just rolled into touch-in-goal. Goodland made his return to the fray taking over from Jack Evans.
Several more penalties gave the visitors an attacking platform and No 8 Brad Talbot spotted a small gap and strolled in for their second try to put them ahead 19-23 after the conversion. A new penalty, one they hadn’t had before – crossing – lost Keynsham a chance to go ahead again. Keynsham were reduced to 14 men when Coughlan was red-carded, but numbers were evened up a couple of minutes later when Heal was sin-binned. There was no more scoring but not for lack of effort on either side.
All-in-all an entertaining game – shame about the penalties, 1 bonus point is better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick.
Bideford Chiefs 23 - 7 Keynsham
A nervous opening 10 mins stretched to 15 then 20 with neither side capable of stringing together any sustained cohesive passages of play, due to their inability to hold on to passes (this “dropsy” was to continue throughout the game, leading to a stop/start afternoon where the ref’s whistle was in danger of running out of pea!).
When Keynsham were marched back 10 metres due to an inappropriate remark made to the ref following a penalty award, full back Chris Snell put the home side 32 points up. At 30 minutes skipper Jack Weston was sin-binned for a deliberate knock on and the rest of the team did well to knuckle down and defend like trojans denying Bideford any opportunity to further advance their lead.
The second half saw the introduction of Rob Breckon and Matt Coghlan for Kit Timmis and Phil Harvey together with the return of Weston. Jack’s return was short lived as in the first minute he damaged his ankle; he tried to carry on but was substituted, replaced by Tom Lewis. The reserve hooker slotted in at blind side wing forward, Caleb Flannel moving to No 8. A scrum infringement penalty converted by Snell followed putting the Chiefs 6 points clear. A pin point cross kick from No 10 Sean East enabled winger Pete Bowes to score, converted by Snell and the score was 13-0.
A break by stand-off Joe Davis made inroads for the visitors but his pass to the supporting Tom Lewis was dropped. Keynsham then had a penalty shot which was just wide from Sam Challenger. Keynsham were putting some fluency into their play at this stage but were further disrupted by an injury to Brad Newton, replaced at wing forward by winger Timmis; nevertheless, they got what was to be their only try after a break by Davis and Lewis was again there supporting and this time held on to the pass to tear over from 15 metres. Challenger’s conversion bringing the score to 13-7. Bideford replied immediately with a drop goal from East following a turnover, 16-7.
Ben Angell and Rueben Edwards were the next on the injured list and were replaced by Harvey and a one-legged Weston. The pack changes proved significant as what had been the slightly better eight at set pieces in the first half were decidedly out played in the second. A 12-man maul from a 5-metre line out was repelled by the visitors but the scrum was under great pressure and conceded a penalty try (23-7). There then came the highlight of Keynsham’s day; what appeared to be the only one on the field who knew that penalty tries no longer had to be converted, Gaz Bradnock, grabbed the ball, sprinted to the hallway line and drop-kicked deep into The Bideford half. Great stuff, but rotten kick! Too long by a few feet his reward was just a 22 re-start and unfortunately within seconds the same player was responsible for an Eeyore moment, “fresh airing” a kick and tripping up. Hey Ho. The game finished 23-7 and no league points for Keynsham.
Both sets of supporters agreed that their respective teams could have played better but Bideford’s hospitality was of the highest quality – thank you.
Keynsham 38 North Petherton 17
North Petherton were unfortunate to come across Keynsham on a day that they played towards the top end of their abilities at the Crown Field. The home side started quickly and had the majority of possession for the first 15 minutes or so. They put together quick moving attacks and were only repelled by dint of a well structured and determined defence. Then a quick tap penalty taken by Kris Borthwick took them by surprize and the centre touched down for a try near the posts, Sammy Challenger adding the extra points. They continued to exert pressure after the re-start and after several phases of pick-and-goes from the pack, Challenger added a second try and conversion to go 14-nil up. Yet again Keynsham swung into action from the re-start; a break and kick and chase by winger Rob Breckon was just too long but put the black and ambers within range. A glorious try by scrum-half John Pearce fo0llowed a lovely piece of interchange and off-loading; Sammy again adding the conversion for a 21 point lead.
If Keynsham and their supporters were rubbing their hands in expectation the visitors soon wiped that away, scoring two tries in the space of 5 minutes. The first was a fine team effort that was finished off in some style be No8 Arron Gibbs, the second an individual effort coming from a wonderful line of running, by centre John Gallagher from 35 metres. The latter converted by Adam Wright to pull the score-line back to a challenging 21-12. The half ended with Keynsham on the attack but an unchanged score.
2 minutes into the second half, Gaz Bradnock got some space and made a break of 20 metres before being hauled down; first to the breakdown was wing forward Brad Newton who picked up and ran straight through several would-be tacklers and despite being caught on the line managed to stretch over for a touch-down, Challenger missing the conversion, try bonus point bagged. North Petherton bounced back and were camped on the Keynsham try-line but lost the ball and Keynsham moved away from danger. 12 minutes in after quite a few forward surges, the ball was spread wide, Jack Weston popped up in the outside centre slot and fed winger Gaz Bradnock who shrugged off three tackles to add the fifth try which was added to by Challenger.
Sammy retired from the fray at this stage and Kit Timmis came on at wing, Bradnock reverting to full-back. Kris Borthwick then stole an intercept try from 50 metres beating 1 tackle en route, Joe Davis narrowly missing the conversion from wide out. 38-12 now and game secure. Callum Fennell took over at wing forward for Brad Newton at this stage, and Darren Uren was to relieve Phil Harvey at prop shortly thereafter. North Petherton never chucked the towel in and were soon again pressing the line only to lose another turnover at a critical stage. With 10 minutes to go Keynsham were down to 14 as second rower Matt Clifton was yellow carded, Oakley Goodland, having put in a sterling shift was given a break and replaced by Brad Newton as Keynsham prepared for a North Petherton onslaught.
The last 10 minutes all played out within the home 22, but the defence held firm; a wonderful last-ditch tackle from John Pearce denying Gibbs a second try. The pressure told however, and Keynsham were reduced to 13 with a yellow for Newton and eventually at the final whistle North Petherton got their reward with a final try, scored by winger Michael Stevens, the conversion was missed and the final score was 38-17.
Both teams contributed to a very enjoyable game and it was good to see the new centre partnership of Borthwick and Ciaran Chester working well. Next week we must try to fell the mighty Oaks!
Keynsham RFC 16 – 7 Matson RFC
A game to forget: a win to savour!
An attritional game at the Crown Field, sparsely attended (Christmas shopping?) saw KRFC edge past Matson. Playing like blocked drains the local lads still managed to add 4 points to their season’s tally and deny the visitors a losing bonus, which they would have deserved.
10 minutes in Keynsham were awarded a 5-metre penalty; a quick tap and feed from scrum-half Pearce to skipper Weston to barge over for the first points (5-0). Several promising Keynsham moves were spoilt by wayward/panic passing – a trend that was to continue throughout the game. On the half-hour, prop Harvey retired from the fray, replaced by Matt Coghlan. A further attacking opportunity within the visitors’ 5 metre-line was nullified by the concession of a penalty. At half time Matson edged in front with a well taken try ( abetted by a couple of missed tackles) by centre Keating, converted by scrum half, Boughton.
Thus, the first half concluded, Matson having had the majority of territorial advantage. The highlights from a Keynsham view-point were the 4 steals Brad Newton had in the line-outs and a 30-metre burst from second row Edwards. Keynsham were guilty of trying to play over-expansive rugby and their choice of options – run/kick short/ kick long/ keep possession - were almost catastrophic.
Following the first action of the second half, Jack Evans replaced Calum Fennell at wing forward. After 8 minutes Keynsham pit together 8/10 phases to pressurise the Matson line, but again conceded a penalty to relieve the situation. 10 minutes thereafter Challenger slotted another penalty to nudge Keynsham into the narrowest of leads, 8-7. On 25 minutes a double substitution saw Fennell return for Tom Lewis (Evans shifting to hooker) and Rob Breckon for Joe Davis (Gaz Bradnock switching to full-back). 5 minutes from time Keynsham notched their second try. It followed a catch and drive from a line-out on the 5-metre mark, with Evans claiming the score (13-7). Matson’s hope of a bonus losing point were dashed by a last minute penalty from Challenger.
Have a good Christmas break fellas.
Keynsham 24 – 19 Thornbury
Keynsham got back to winnings ways, but by the skin of their teeth, when Thornbury visited the Crown Field on Saturday. The first 5 minutes showed the crowd that both sides were determined to play expansive attractive rugby and the early exchanges were very even. After 15 minutes, following 8/10 phases moving left and right across the field Keynsham went ahead through a well taken try by scrum-half John Pearce. The conversion by Sam Challenger made it 7 nil.
Within minutes the scores were equal as Thornbury scored a fine try by winger Rich Bennet, converted by full back Jack Wood. Keynsham went back into the lead when they picked off a dropped ball by the visitors and 2 moves later, Joe Davis gave a smart pass to prop Ben Angell who needed no encouragement to surge the few metres to the try line, Sam Challenger again adding a good conversion, 14-7. Bang! More or less from the re-start Keynsham tried to run the ball out of their 22 only for a telegraphed pass to lead to an interception try under the posts for Thornbury’s stand-off Sam Poustie, Wood added the conversion to make it all square again.
Sam Challenger narrowly missed a mid-range penalty at 30 minutes and only a great cover tackle by the visitors’ defence prevented centre Kris Borthwick from scoring in the corner; this following a break away by winger Kit Timmis. Skipper Jack Weston was held up on the line and, after a couple of 5 metre scums, Weston fed Pearce who then shipped the ball onto Timmis to notch the team’s third try. Conversion missed. Thornbury then had a chance but messed up a line-out and so an exciting half came to an end with the Black and Ambers shaving it 19-14.
As good as the first half was, the second half failed to come close, the game reflecting the gloomy conditions. Whether the players had the same difficulties as the spectators in telling the sides apart, this 40 minutes was riddled with mistakes frim both teams, and frustrations were apparent. Thornbury equalised again from a catch and drive, centre Harry Tarling adding his frame to the maul and stealing the glory from his pack, the conversion from wide out was missed – 19 all. 26 minutes in and Keynsham scored their fourth, and bonus point, try by Jack Evans; this coming from a succession of drives following a line out 15 metres from the line.
There was a lot of grunt from both sides thereafter but nothing of note and we were all glad to hear the final whistle. Definitely a game of two halves, but a win’s a win.