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!