North Petherton 27 - 30 Keynsham
Keynsham travelled to Bridgewater on Saturday full of confidence following their great performance the previous week at home. They found that they had another hard task in front of them facing a big well-drilled home team and had to dig deep and use all their defensive resources if a second league victory was to be achieved.
With a stiff cross-field wind blowing, North Petherton took an early lead following a Keynsham off-side through a penalty from full back Harry Roberts. Keynsham quickly replied following 3 or 4 phases near the line when prop Tim Coghlan forced his way over the whitewash. The conversion by Sam Challenger edged the boys 3-7 ahead.
Shortly thereafter, from a scrappy line-out inside the K’s 22 a series of attacks were repulsed but eventually the home side got their reward through a try by hooker Sam Williams. The conversion by Roberts made the score 10-7. A further penalty from Keynsham’s Sam Challenger brought the scores level.
Keynsham’s scrum did not enjoy the dominance enjoyed the previous week and were occasionally driven back and disrupted, nevertheless they got some momentum from a couple of set pieces and there was some wonderful passing and interplay between Gaz Bradnock, Brad Newton and Matt Clifton which led to a try by Bradnock, Challengers conversion hitting the upright; 10-15 the visitors.
Once again, the home side fought back and scored a try the conversion missed to make it all square again (the try scorer unknown mainly due to the difficulty in reading the shirt numbers – only visible at short distance i.e. within smelling distance!). Reuben Edwards had his customary long chat with physio Will Eke resulting in him persuading Will that he needed a rest and Oakley Goodland assumed the second-row position. Keynsham’s scrum was again put under pressure and the home side edged into the lead 20-15. Keynsham pressurised the Petherton line but wasted a couple of chances to regain the lead before the half time whistle.
Having been suitably refreshed Edwards re-joined the fray at the expense of Goodland and shortly into the second half Callum Fennel equalised the score yet again at 20-20. Pressure by the visitors led to a yellow card being given to home prop Kyle Prescott and Keynsham scrambled an ugly try, possibly by Jack Weston, Challenger’s conversion making it 20-27 and securing a try bonus league point. Prop Tim Coghlan then decided it was his turn for a rest and his brother Matt took over.
Prescott made his presence felt when he returned to the action after his enforced 10 minutes on the side-line when be barrelled over for Petherton’s 4th (and bonus point) try; Roberts conversion squaring thing up at 27-27.
A Sam Challenger penalty put Keynsham in the lead but they had to resist tremendous pressure from the home side to avoid defeat. Despite losing Matt Clifton to the sin-bin they defended like tigers and scrummed their hearts out to keep their line intact; Tim Coughlan and Oakley Goodland returning to the pit face, Damian Cummings sacrificed for forward power. A combination of luck and errors by the home side secured a narrow Keynsham win.
A very enjoyable game to watch and good value for the £5 entry fee. Both sides were guilty at times of simple errors caused by the pace of the game and consequently it tended to be a bit stop-and-start, but with the lead changing hands so frequently it was never dull. It would seem that each game at this level is going to bring a fresh challenge; let’s hope that the boys retain the momentum, but they can’t get carried away. Play on!