Keynsham RFC 22 - 12 Lydney RFC
The 2019/20 league season opened at the Crown Field on Saturday in almost perfect conditions. The local side fielded 3 newcomers from previous seasons in the matchday squad, 2 front row men – Josh Woodman and Cody Rensberg - and winger Sheamus Connolly.
The first half was a relatively damp squib in which Lydney certainly had more of the play. Although both sides showed a willingness to play fast expansive rugby, they both tried too hard – definite signs of rustiness. Keynsham started the trend when their initial kick-off when directly into touch, then gave away, or nearly gave away several interceptions, following with several more kicks going directly into touch. The two teams repeatedly lost possession with the local lads being the worst offenders. By 30 minutes the visitors were 6 points clear from penalties by their out-half Tony Wicks, who had also failed with one attempt. 5 minutes from the end of the half, Keynsham managed to string together some cohesive play and got their reward by means of a Sam Challenger penalty. The half ended with another penalty from Wicks when the K’s were penalised at a ruck.
The second half was of a different calibre entirely. It would seem that the local lads were rubbed down by WD 40 to remove their rust (other lubricants are available!) whereas the visitors were not. They started with a very bright opening with George Warren, Challenger and Jack Cowan all almost reaching the line. A huge surge from a scrum 8 metres out saw Jack Weston touch down for the first try of the game, Challenger’s conversion just wide, leaving Keynsham 1 point adrift. After a bit of a rumble involving both packs and a few stragglers, another good spell of play saw Warren just short again and a subsequent knock-on seemed to have lost an opportunity. A great power scrum saw Lyndey repulsed in disarray, the ball popped out and skipper Hayden Johnson was first to react and touch down, Challengers conversion making it 15-9.
15 minutes in Joe Davies was replaced by Dan Moody, Challenger moving to fly half and 2 minutes later a double swap saw debutant Rensberg and Jack Josham take over from Phil Harvey and Joe Clements. Rensberg’s debut was short lived as following 2 impressive drives he was forced from the action with a neck injury - Harvey returning to the fray. Lydney closed the gap to 6 with a penalty from Wicks and some 8 minutes from time Johnson was yellow carded and a torrid last ten looked on the cards. K’s pack and general defence were up to the task; they pinched an opposition lineout, made 15 metres or so with a drive and won a 5-metre scrum. Even with the pack being a man light there was little problem for Weston to notch his second try and secure a great win to start the season – Challenger icing the cake – 22pts to 12pts. Lydney just failed to earn a losing bonus point when in the last move of the game another knock on spoilt all the good work.
Keynsham’s defence was up to last seasons standard, the pack eventually got going and the line-out play was streets ahead of what was on show previously; the stealing of 8 opposition throws and disruption to others testify to this.
It is to be hoped that the player commitment is better than previous seasons and the new coaching team are given full support by the squad and fringe players. No mid-season stag weekends, or taking Granny on a shopping expedition, please!
Highlight for the writer – Adul Tweazel’s Johnny May like mid air retrieval of a box kick!!!
Looking forward to next week.
Keynsham RFC 15 - 10 Devonport Services RFC
The re-played fixture took place at the Crown Field on Saturday, a dry but very windy day, with the wind blowing from corner to corner. Keynsham started really brightly with the wind behind, despite making a mistake at the first kick off. They turned the ball over from the first scrum, won a penalty and from the ensuing line out near the corner Joe Clements forced his way across the try line; Sam Challenger slotting a terrific conversion. In the sixth minute, a raking kick by Challenger took the home side up to the 5 metre mark. Services messed up the line out and from the following advancing scrum, scrum half and skipper, John Pearce spotted a gap on the blind side and scuttled over for try no 2. This time Challenger`s kick narrowly missed.
Thereafter Devonport began to exert control. Winger Mikey Johnson made a great run and split the defence but the last pass went to ground. They eventually got their reward after 34 minutes when prop Struan Main scored wide out after Keynsham’s defence had been stretched both ways. This was not converted. A great run from the kick off by Services fly half Tom Pullinger, opened up a further opportunity before half time, but K's defence held out. It was a sloppy performance all round in the last 30 minutes of the half, both sides trying too hard to create openings.
The second half started with the visitors in ascendance. They got their driving mauls rolling and pressurised the home defence but the defence held. The Keynsham defence was ‘in your face’ for long periods of the game and this probably caused the visitors winger to drop the ball when a try seemed inevitable after a fine break from their hooker. They did however close the gap to just 2 points when winger Johnson made the most of space near the touch line and fed the supporting Ed McGinley for their second try. From the kick off Keynsham gained possession only for Moody to be pinged for holding on, which he was also sin binned for much to the surprise of the spectators. The resulting long range attempt was wide of the mark. Lewis Bush and George Powell took over from Dan Harvey and Phil Harvey respectively.
With 20 minutes left and playing against the strong wind it seemed like Keynsham were up against it. The boys seemed to have a different idea. Working their way out of their own 22 to within 10 metres of Devonport's line, it was excellent ball retention and work rate from forwards and backs alike as they went through 25 phases. The end result a penalty in front of the posts which was duly slotted by Challenger, moving the score to 15-10.
A shuffle in the back line saw James Wetton take over at 9 and John Pearce move to the wing. The remaining 15 minutes consisted of Devonport throwing everything at the Keynsham line only to be repelled each time. A driving line out resulted in another yellow card, this time for Bushy. The 14 men held out though and a huge scrum with the reintroduction of Harvey at prop won the penalty with a couple of minutes on the clock. The home side took the scrum again and a great platform allowed Man of the Match Hayden Johnson to gallop away down the blindside making valuable metres. After a couple of pick and goes Wetton kicked it off for the park with Keynsham holding out for an important victory. A good result for the lads showing excellent grit and determination in the last 20 minutes when all things considered they played well below their capability.
Thank you to Virtue Interior Systems for their sponsorship of Saturdays game. Keynsham ran out comfortable winners over bottom placed Coney Hill scoring 8 tries in the process. Our match sponsors picked Joe Davies as their man of the match!
Keynsham RFC 27 - 22 Devonport Services RFC (Game Abandoned after 63 minutes)
Was this a game or wasn’t it? The question was raised time and time again in the after-time assessments. In truth, the answer will be given definitively by the League authorities in the fullness of time.
It was a match of two sections, a half and two thirds! The first half saw a dominant Keynsham who went in at half time leading 24-10. The second session was all Devonport Services; they had brought the score back to 27-22 when the referee pulled a fetlock after about 25 minutes and could not continue. There was no other qualified referee in attendance unfortunately.
The home team went ahead 3-0 courtesy of a penalty by Joe Davies and stretched that to 10 by from a try by prop Ben Angell, converted by Davies. Having another of his better days, Davies then converted his own try. Services came back to 17-10 via two unconverted tries before second rower, Dan Harvey stepping up from the second xv, scored K’s third try; Davies once again adding the extras.
The visitors came out of the blocks quickly in the second session with a converted try. Davies then replied with a penalty to move it to 10 points lead again. Keynsham’s tackling, much vaunted this season – and rightly so – fell away badly in this section and Devonport scored another unconverted try. They were, therefore, a bonus point to the good when the game stopped.
It seems that there are several options open in regard to this match. Game void - replay being the most likely. A potential problem is the lack of alternate dates before the end of season; it is unlikely that Devonport could make the long trip for a mid-week re-play. Let the result stand – could be crucial league points at stake by the end of the season for both or either sides. Call it a draw, 2 points each – same potential difficulty. Wait and see – depends on both teams’ results in the remaining games. Or maybe the League authorities have another cunning Baldric plan! We shall see.
A big thank you to our match day sponsors IVC Vetcare, thank you for your continued support!
THE GAME IS BEING PLAYED ON SATURDAY 16TH MARCH, KEYNSHAM HAVE HAD TO FORFEIT THEIR SOMERSET CUP GAME WHICH WAS DUE TO BE PLAYED ON FRIDAY 15TH MARCH.
Keynsham RFC 19 - 41 Hornets RFC
Improvements will be forthcoming, no doubt? That was the question posed after 2 very poor performances. There were some slightly better aspects when the first xv played Hornets at the Crown Field on Saturday, but not many, and not enough, as they missed an opportunity of stretching the gap away from a relegation spot with home advantage.
Hornets started stronger and pressurised the home line but the defence held and they moved up-field. Once there, two massive driving mauls took them to the line and Joe Clements, playing as hooker on this occasion, squeezed over for a try, which Sam Challenger converted after 13 minutes. 10 minutes later, a very slick handling movement by the visitors created space for their highly elusive winger, Carter, to beat several defenders in a weaving run to the line from 40 metres out. This was converted to equal things up. Bushy retired with a knee injury shortly thereafter and was replaced by Rugbin Edwards. He played as flanker with Matt Withey moving to no 8. 31 minutes in, and Rob Breckon was sin-binned for a high tackle. From the resultant penalty Hornets had a 5-metre line out and in the ensuing phases their centre Gadd scored try no 2, which was also converted. Keynsham came back and pressurised the visitors’ line, leading to a yellow card to level the team numbers. They gave away a penalty when in a try scoring position and a huge clearance kick was not cleared up by the home side and a third, this time unconverted, try was shipped. The half ended with yet another Keynsham attacking move lost by a mistake in handling. Score 7-19.
Once again, the front 5 dominated set play proceedings, once again the line outs did not function consistently, once again too many mistakes in all areas of the pitch. Plenty to talk about at half time then.
The second half started with Keynsham still in a generous mood. They made a hash of gathering the re-start kick, fumbled with a bouncing ball and lost a defensive line-out to give the Hornets an attacking platform. From a forward drive, held up near the line, their stand-off, Disney, sneaked around the short side and stole in for their bonus point try. (There was then a lengthy pause whilst a Keynsham prop forward had lessons from another forward as to how to put on a boot properly and lace it up). Keynsham then had what was to be their only period of dominance. Firstly, Rich Court fought his way clear from a catch and drive line-out to touchdown and 6 minutes later, after a series of 5-metre scrums, were awarded a penalty try. This narrowed the gap to 5 points at 19-24 and all to play for.
Oops, the local boys again failed to handle the re-start and the gap was back to 10 points with a gifted try. Keynsham’s scrum dominance was snatched away at this point when the scrums became uncontested, although they were, as the rules stipulate, playing against 14 Hornets. It was Hornets who still had the sting (sorry, I had to work that in!) and ran in two more tries, one unconverted and the other one converted at the final whistle.
Disappointing, but credit to the visitors, whose back three were very impressive with ball in hand.
It is time for the squad to regroup and consider if they wish to continue to play at this league level. To do so requires them to play as a team not individuals, and to remember that training and commitment to one’s teammates is a necessity not a luxury, to be done at will.
Keynsham RFC 25 - 3 Trowbridge RFC
Led from the front by scrumhalf John Pearce, Keynsham`s performance levels took a monumental forward step from the previous 3 league games. Pearce was a constant threat to the visitors, sniping around the fringes or finding gaps in mid-field: this, in turn, brought the best out off Joe Davis at fly-half who had his best game for a long time. Add to this the return of `niggly-nause` in the pack after a few weeks absence and there you have several reasons for the improvement. The front 5 continue to dominate in the set piece, with line-outs still a problem.
An early doors penalty for a collapsed scrum gave Challenger the early chance of three points which was duly converted. A ruck 10 metres out followed a catch and drive move from a line out; from the middle of this burst `poacher-niggle-nause` to touch down theatrically-conversion wide. Trowbridge dominated play for the remainder of the half and were unlucky to see a penalty kick bounce off the upright. They did put 3 points on the board at the stoke of half time. Keynsham’s defence during that time was tremendous, with thunderous tackles coming in from all players; this defence was to be a notable feature of the second half too. If one tackle was to stand out it was Fennell’s on a large lumps pf Trowbridge beef which drew gasps from the crowd – alas, it could not have been as effective as it seemed because the perpetrator did not carry on for long, but the recipient finished the game. The first half could be summed up briefly by saying that both sides were guilty of forcing passes and trying to play too quickly from non-stable ball.
Matt Withey took over from Fennell at the start of the second half and Rueben Edwards for Jack Cowan 10 minutes later. Constant early pressure saw the home team stretch their lead when Withey emulated the `nause` and scooted through the centre of a ruck, Challenger converting his try. Earlier, surprisingly, Pearce had decided to spin a ball wide from the base of a fast forward moving scrum close to the line spurning a push-over try. The visitors again spent some time in K’s red zone but the attacks were resisted and Keynsham cleared their line. They lost an attacking lineout and were back scrambling in defence immediately. After 21 minutes Keynsham went 18-3 thanks to a penalty by Sam Challenger. Once again, the visitors took control of ball and territory for a long period, and, once again, Keynsham’s defence held firm. A penalty kick relieved the pressure and Pearcy made a wonderful break from mid-field; he was practically clear to the line until he was nearly decapitated, he got straight up and continued to run like a headless chicken but was eventually tackled. The visitors tried to run from defence but Cieran Chester scored an intercept try. Challenger had chipped some his toe-nail varnish by this stage and had gone of for repairs, so Joe Davis added the extras. To finish a fine performance ‘nause’ was sin-binned.
Keynsham RFC 31 - 13 Teignmouth RFC
Another crucial win for the lads at the Crown Field on Saturday.
They went into an early 5-point lead when Dan Howlett found a hole through the centre of a maul and shuffled under the posts, Sam Challenger slotting the easy conversion. Keynsham’s dominant pack in the scrums drove the visitors over their line for a touchdown by Lewis Bush; Sam missed the kick. A couple of minutes later Teignmouth got on the board thanks to a catch and drive from a close-range lineout, skipper Parsons getting the nod; conversion missed. These few instances were a harbinger of the game; Keynsham pack utterly dominant in the scrums, almost embarrassingly so, and the visitors having the edge in the lines out and ball retention stakes. Both sides had the propensity to drop the ball in open play; Teignmouth’s was caused by the pressure put on them by the defence whereas the home side did not have that excuse.
The visitors try had the effect of galvanising them and for almost 25 minutes play was within 20 metres of K’s line. The defence was very solid and no glaring chances were created however and their only score, a minute before half time, was a penalty from Tom Gosling.
With a half-time score of 12-8 the second half began seeing Ryan Harding taking over at prop from Phil Harvey. This lead was extended to 19-8 when Sammy latched on to a chip through and forced his way over near the corner flag and then added the conversion. Ollie Sayers Joined the fray at the expense of Adam Harrison, Pearse moving to No9 and half way through the half Ben Angell took over from skipper of the day Coghlan. On 22 minutes Bushie was sin-binned and from the ensuing penalty ‘Teen muscled their way over the whitewash with a catch/drive try. There was no denying that the home spectators were then on tenterhooks until the last 5 minutes as the visitors showed willing.
A fine break by flanker Joe Clements was to ease the situation and lead to a fourth, and bonus point, try. This break indirectly led to penalty near the posts and, to the dismay of the home crowd, Keynsham opted for a scrum, rather then a kick at goal.
What do spectators know?
The dominant home scrum drilled the opposition, went blind, and scored in the corner via Cieran Chester; Sammy again slotting from wide out. The Icing on the cake and the flattering score line followed, just prior to the whistle. A lovely kick to space by Pearse saw the visitors full back in two minds and George Warren was on him to charge his kick down; he was then quickest to react to beat defenders to the ball in-goal for his first 1st XV try. He really deserved it, as a reward for his great performances over the last few weeks.
St Ives RFC 42 - 22 Keynsham RFC
The squad and a goodly number of supporters made the long trip to deepest Cornwall; the squad lacking 5 regular starters for various reasons, the spectators lacking any sense. There was a set-back before kick-off when fly-half Matt Fairless was forced to retire with a pulled hamstring, Adam Harrison moving to 10, Pearsey to 9 and Ollie Sayer taking over a wing spot. A great game of rugby followed, played on a good pitch but with an extremely strong cross-wind in force. There was a late turn-round in fortune which resembled in Lazarus style come-back.
The visitors started briskly and had a penalty opportunity within the first minutes, Matt Withey’s kick just wide of the mark. Lewis Bush, taking over Jack Weston’s no 8 shirt, made amends by crashing over the whitewash following a close-range lineout, Withey’s fine conversion from the touchline just swept outside the posts by the wind. It remained 0-5 until up to the 20th minute, by which stage the ‘Hakes’ had recovered their composure and helped by Keynsham’s ill-discipline had a foothold. Pete Mabbott kicked a penalty to narrow the gap and 5 minutes later they notched a forwards’ try preceded by a series of phases close to the line, Mabbott’s conversion made it 10-5. Rich Court injured his elbow in these exchanges and was replaced by Ben Angel, Ryan Harding shifting to the 2nd row. A penalty and a try by Rhys Brownfield plus conversion completed the home side’s scoring before half time, by which stage the visitors had emptied their reserves bench: Jack Cowan injured his shoulder and was replaced by erstwhile winger Kit Timmis who played as a flanker. 20-5 not looking good.
2 quick tries very early in the second half, both converted, saw St Ives secure their bonus point and it seemed as if the flood-gates were about to open and an embarrassing defeat loomed. But no, the lads’ spirit and commitment to each other, seen on quite a few occasions this season kicked in again. They knuckled down a began to dominate in the scrums and to switch the ball wide and fast This took momentum away from the home side and they were rewarded with a try by poacher Evans from a catch and drive, 34-10. On 35 minutes John Pearse scuttled over under the posts following a snipe from broken play, Withey added the extras for 34-17. An immediate penalty for St Ives stretched it to 37-17 and the re-start was a disaster leading to yet another try. 42-17 and that should have been that, especially after such a set-back. The Black and Ambers’ had other ideas though and finished off with a bonus point try, Evans again claiming the honour. Face saved at 42-22.
Wonderful job boys, the home side’s supporters appreciated your efforts, however please don’t rest on your laurels as there are more challenges ahead.
Keynsham RFC 20 - 7 Okehampton RFC
The New Year started with a bang when the home side surprised the team lying second in the league at the Crown Field on Saturday.
They went into an early 5-point lead when Joe Davies made a break leading to a lineout near the visitors’ line, they then made a bit of a hash of their throw and the arch poacher Jack Evans, starting at wing forward sneaked over the line; Sam Challenger’s kick wide of the mark. After 15 minutes the lead was stretched to ten. This followed 6 phases after Keynsham had secured a turnover and Davies launched a high kick to the corner which was caught by winger Ceiran Chester who crashed in from close distance; Sam’s kick falling short.
The home spectators had further joy 10 minutes later. Davies’ high cross—kick, mis-cued, it must be said, was caught miraculously by centre George Warren who fed winger John Pearse from the back of his hand; the winger showed great pace to out-strip his marker and the cover defence to score a splendid number three try from which Challenger slotted the extra points. A penalty from the same player 8 minutes later completed the scoring for the first half.
It was a half that was utterly dominated by the boys in black and amber. Okehampton did have a few sorties into Keynsham territory and did create a small number of chances but a combination of solid, brave defence, added to by sloppy finishing by the attacking team saw the efforts come to nought.
It was a totally different second half where Okehampton were on top throughout, 95% of play was in the Keynsham half, more than half was in the last third, but very little in the ‘red zone’. The half started with Ryan Harding taking over at prop from Phil Harvey. A penalty for Okehampton in the first minute saw the kick hit the upright and stay out. 8 minutes of play in the Keynsham 22 was rewarded when, after Harvey return at prop for the injured Tim Coghlan, Oke’s scrumhalf, Bruce stole into a retreating home ruck to touch down – excellent knowledge of the laws – Fogarty converted to make it 20-7.
Lewis Bush entered the fray for Dan Howlett with Evans reverting to hooker. Very shortly thereafter skipper Weston was injured and a further pack re-shuffle took place. It was still all Okehampton but the defence stayed strong and focussed and the visitors only had one real further sniff of a try five minutes from time; this was thwarted by a last-ditch tackle by second-row Rich Court.
This was a great victory, a true team effort. The side’s tackling from 1 to 15 was superlative throughout and, whilst everyone bit their bit brilliantly, George Warren’s input was the pick of the bunch.
Well done lads, now travel to St Ives with the same heads on!
Launceston RFC 33 Keynsham RFC 24
The very first scrum which was within the second minute of the game led to Keynsham taking the lead. The pack drove the home side back, skipper Weston picked up and fed John Pearse who went on the short side to find a gaping hole in the defence. He then evaded two would-be tacklers to plunge over the line; Sam Challengers conversion attempt just missing. There was an immediate response from Launceston who secured a catch and drive try claimed by scrum-half Collings; conversion missed to leave it at 5-5. They were straight back on the attack after the re-start and were rewarded with a penalty from Fly-half Coles to edge ahead. Only a forward pass prevented the `all blacks` scoring again from the next re-start but on 14 minutes another catch and drive saw then go 10 points clear with a try by Jenkins and conversion from Coles.
At the 20 minute juncture Keynsham narrowed the gap to just 2 when, following a series of 5-metre scrums Weston scored and Challenger slotted the kick. Thereafter it was all one-way traffic for the hosts and the Black and Ambers were not helped by a shoulder injury to fly-half Ollie Connybear, enforcing a re-shuffle throughout the back-line and the introduction of James Wetton at no 9. A third catch and drive try came from almost the 22-metre line again credited to Collings; then a try from winger Kneebone and finally a superb individual try from full-back Edwards to complete what looked like becoming an embarrassing rout. Thus, it was 30-12 at the break.
The first 10 minutes of the second half saw Keynsham camped in the Launceston 22 but failing to trouble the score-line and they play switched to the middle areas. Dan Harvey was introduced to the front row which continued the dominance that the visitors had shown in the scrum all day. Nevertheless, the hosts moved to 33 points with a penalty by Coles. The last 10 minutes were totally controlled by Keynsham. They scored the best try of the game following breaks by Gareth Bradnock, Oakley Goodland and finally finished off by Challenger who then slotted the conversion.
More was to follow when Joe Davies broke from his own half but out-ran his support. The move petered out but the K`s had a line out close to the line from which it was their turn to bag a catch and drive try touched down by Adam Harrison with possibly his first touch of the ball. This gave them the try bonus they deserved and might have lead to a second bonus point had Challenger`s conversion succeeded. But it didn`t and the whistle went as the kick missed.
A wonderful second half effort from a group who just refuse to give up. We still need vital league points so fingers crossed for the home game versus Lydney; another tough one looms.