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!
Keynsham 29 - 17 Newent
Those of us who paid £3 had great value for money when we watched Keynsham take on Newent RFC at the Crown Field (those who didn’t pay – shame on you!). Having performed well in the previous two games with but a single point to their league tally the lads knew that a hard game was ahead.
Newent hit the ground running and their backline, fast, skilful and athletic, well backed by the back row, threatened to rip Keynsham to shreds. Some missed first time tackles added to Keynsham woes and within 10 minutes they led 12 points to nil through tries from full back Josh Preston and winger Nathan Brookes, the first of which converted by Preston. It was very evident at this point that if Keynsham didn't start to win the collisions Newent's off loading game would make sure it was a long afternoon for the men in amber and black.
Keynsham re-grouped and began to dominate up front, a domination which was to become increasing evident with penalties at all most every scrum. A series of 5 metre scrums saw the visitors’ wing forward, George Phelps, sin-binned without the award of a penalty try. From the last set piece a likely push-over try was stopped by the visitors pack but skipper, Jack Weston, flicked the ball from the base of the scrum to scrum half, John Pearce who dived over near the 5 metre line, Sam Challenger nailing the conversion from the touch line.
Keynsham failed to secure the re-start safely and what ensued was a frenetic period of play with both sides trying to keep the ball alive. The end of product was Keynsham working an overlap down the right hand side only for Tim Coghlan's pass to be intercepted by Newent's winger who ran in from 40 metres to secure their third try. Oh oh, we thought, but the boys bounced back and won a penalty, slotted by Challenger.
Half time 10-17-game on?
Progressively the front 5 were more and more in charge and it was no surprise when after another siege on the visitors’ line, Keynsham were awarded a penalty try, together with another yellow card, this time to No 8 Ross Webb. Newent then put some pressure on the Keynsham line, but an attacking 5 metre lineout was stolen by Brad Newton.
From the subsequent play, a cross field kick from Joe Davis saw a fumble from the Newent defence after a pressure from Weston and Newton and a favourable bounce saw skipper, Jack Weston gallop in from 30 metres. (It is hoped that his disgraceful Ashtonesque dive over the lined received its just deserts in the after-match fines session!). Challenger on target with the conversion.
Yet more pressure led to a final push-over try. Who cares who’s claiming it (Weston again)! Sam missing the conversion.
29-17 and 5 points; well done boys, great defence, scrummaging and line-out.
Thank you to City Plumbing Supplies who were Saturdays match day sponsor!
Matson 16 - 5 Keynsham
Keynsham Rugby 1st XV were close to their first win in South West One West on Saturday when they travelled to Gloucester to face Matson RFC.
In torrential conditions, the weather ensured the game would not be free flowing but both teams started brightly carrying well and testing each other’s defence.
With the wind behind Matson in the first half, the home side capitalised on the conditions and kept Keynsham deep in their own half with a range of well-placed kicks.
Following some early pressure, Matson gained possession just outside the visitor’s 22 and good ball retention and hands in the backs saw Matson’s centre crash over for the first score of the game. The kick followed making it 7-0.
The remainder of the half saw the majority of the territory being played within Keynsham’s half, Matson also having the lion’s share of possession. Despite this, the amber and blacks demonstrated good resilience and defended well.
Whilst Keynsham’s efforts prevented Matson from crossing again in the first half, they were found to be on the wrong side of the referee’s whistle within kicking distance allowing Matson a shot at goal to make the half time score 10-0.
The heavens seemed to favour the home side as the second half began, the rain and wind significantly dropping, reducing Keynsham’s opportunity to capitalise on the conditions Matson were afforded in the first half.
Nonetheless, despite the limited possession, Keynsham made a number of good attacks breaking through the Matson defence and were unlucky not to finish with a couple of tries, the slippery conditions leading to some handling errors.
However, the break for the visitors came following a period of good pressure resulting in a scrum on Matson’s five metre line. Whilst both packs had shared the spoils throughout the game, Keynsham turned the screw and shoved the Matson pack backwards allowing captain and number 8 Jack Weston to dot down. 10-5.
As the minutes went by, Matson demonstrated a good ability to retain ball well in difficult conditions, testing Keynsham’s staunch defence which prevented the home side from crossing the whitewash again.
Frustratingly for the away side, as they chased the game, they conceded a number of penalties late on which allowed Matson’s kicker to relieve some pressure and add two penalties to the first half conversion making the final score 16-5.
With a try apiece and just separated by a couple of penalties, Keynsham can take confidence in their performance, especially their defence, as they look ahead to Saturday’s visit of Newent to Crown Fields.
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!