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!