Keynsham 29 - 41 Launceston
Perfect conditions welcomed Launceston RFC to Crown Fields for the first game of the season, and Keynsham RFC's first outing at level 6 for 11 years.
Against the backdrop of the 2017 Cider and Music festival, the game got off to a cagey start. Initial hard carries and quick play from Keynsham gave signs of promise for the home side, gaining valuable yards through breaks from Weston and Edwards.
However ill discipline from the hosts would negate their early endeavour. An unstable scrum and sloppy play at the breakdown allowed Launceston to make easy progress up the field, creating long periods of pressure.
An otherwise aimless kick caught winger Bradnock out of position and a lucky bounce fell straight into the arms of Launceston's centre for an easy run between the sticks.
Further poor discipline allowed Launceston to move away to 0-13, and it was beginning to look like a mountain to climb for Keynsham.
Strong carries and improved discipline lead to a strong charge from Keynsham and resulted in a score to the left hand side of the posts. Fly half Davies slotted the extras. For once.
The half finished with one of the most outrageous offloads ever seen from Launceston's star centre, their winger gassing away for another easy run in.
The start of the second half saw Keynsham bring club stalwart and war hero Coghlan off of the bench to rapturous applause. His steady head and excellent communication encouraged the men in black and gold to attack with more vigour, and defend much smarter.
Three quick tries followed after some lovely interplay between the forwards and backs. The bonus point coming from the Keynsham pack's signature rolling maul, with Edwards taking the spoils.
Launceston didn't take the shift in momentum lying down. A direct style of play saw them gain healthy yards, eventually throwing it wide to score to the right of the sticks. The conversion took the score to 24-34.
Keynsham's hopes of a win, or at least a losing bonus point, were dashed after a handling error from Challenger on his own try line was pounced on by the Launceston fly half. The talented Cornish kicker continued his form and added the conversion.
A final blast of pace and energy from Keynsham saw a ridiculous kick out of contact from skipper Weston, which was gathered neatly by Williams in the corner for the score.
The end of the match saw the home side go down 29-41. A rather flattering score line for the visitors, but a healthy lesson for Keynsham that a lack of concentration will be punished at this level.
The 1st XV move on to Matson away next week to renew an old rivalry.
A big thank you to Evans Building for being our first Match Day Sponsor of the year!