Bridgwater & Albion 31 - 14 Keynsham
The home side’s second row Arron Kelly was prominent in the early stages with some strong carries and Keynsham repelled several promising attacks. A break by centre Luke Plummer again threatened Keynsham’s line but the final pass did not go to hand. Keynsham’s Dan Moody retired with a shoulder injury after about 25 minutes and was replaced by Josh Hughes, Gareth Bradnock moving to wing and Rob Breckon switching to full back. On an excursion into the home side’s half Breckon did a “Devon Loch” *(see below). On the half hour Paul Cooper was yellow carded inside the 22 giving Kelly the opportunity to bludgeon over from short range following a line out, Stuart Heal converted to give the home side a 7 point start.
They followed up more or less from the kick off with a kick and chase from winger Ryan Bartlett, the kick just going too far. Nevertheless, they continued to take advantage of the one-man advantage they enjoyed and went further ahead with an unconverted try by their most potent attacking threat namely full-back Will Munroe. The same man made a break shortly thereafter, fed winger Barnett for a third try, converted by Heal to make the score coming up to half time 19 nil.
A very protracted first half (55 minutes!) was brought to an end with a try for Brad Newton converted by Sam Challenger bring the score to 19-7. It was to be hoped that Keynsham would turn the game around in the second half as they would then have the advantage of the strong tail wind which benefitted BARFC in the first half.
Signs were good with early pressure but a wonderful try was conjured up by the home side. A counter attack saw them sweep both sides of the pitch and cover fully 75 metres end in a try for Kyran Devitt, duly converted by Heal; bonus point secure and a 26-7 lead. Oakley Goodland and Darren Uren joined the fray at this point, Jack Weston and Matt Coghlan retiring. John Pearce gave the Black and Ambers renewed hope sniping his way over the whitewash and again Challenger added the extra points. 26-14.
Bridgwater added a 5th try through Luke Plummer, Heal inexplicably missing a simple conversion to bring it to 31-14. Keynsham exerted significant pressure on the home defence in the closing 10 minutes but despite a yellow card offence followed by uncontested scrums were unable to close the gap any further.
So, back down to earth with a bump. Keynsham were not out classed but could not cope with the 8 changes from last weeks squad. They had the edge in the set pieces but the home team were far slicker with their ball handing from 1 – 15.
*” Devon Loch” was a race horse that famously fell over when about to become winner of the Grand National – talk to anyone over 65!
Keynsham 17 - 12 Bideford
In a match where a strong, blustery cross-field wind was to prove a distraction, scrum half John Pearce made an early sniping run which gained 30 metres which put Keynsham on the front foot in this mid-table clash. A missed penalty was followed by a successful one by centre Sam Challenger to give the home side a 3-0 lead. In a rare sortie into the Keynsham 22 Bideford took the lead from a try by captain and wing forward Dave Folland converted by Full back Snell to make it 3-7.
Keynsham came straight back and after several surges Gareth Bradnock spun several times and wriggled his way over the white-wash to score wide out; Challenger slotted a magnificent conversion to make it 10-7.
The game speeded up in the last 15 minutes of the first half with both sides off-loading well. A Jack Weston break out from defence looked promising but came to nowt. The first half ended with a double knock on which kind of mirrored both sides efforts in the opening 40 minutes.
Right from the opening play Keynsham went further ahead. Weston fed Pearce from a scrum, he made 10 metres or so, gave it back to Weston who surged through several would be tacklers making another 20 metres before giving it back to the supporting Pearce; he gratefully scuttled under the posts. Challenger added the points. 17-7. Hereafter Bideford changed their tactics and were to dominate the rest of proceedings; their pack kept the ball and exerted tremendous pressure, particularly in the set piece scrums. It was soon time for Bideford to score and they did so. From a 5-metre lineout there was a catch and drive culminating in a second try for skipper Folland. The conversion missed leaving it at 17-12.
More threats to Keynsham’s line were to follow and apart from a break out by Weston and Brad Newton which came to nothing following a rather pointless kick ahead, Keynsham were to spend most of the rest of the game inside their own 22. In fact, the last 10 minutes were all spend within 10 metres of the line. K’s defence was superb, repelling thrust after thrust, though it must be said that the Bideford tactics were a bit adrift spurning several offers of a 5 metre scrum for a tap-and-go.
Relief all around the Crown Field when substitute hooker Tom Lewis planted the ball into touch from a line out. A squeaky 4 league points in the bag.
Teignmouth 17 - 12 Keynsham
A goodly crowd of supporters made the trip to Devon to watch what was expected to be a close game in South West 1 league, and were not disappointed. The sides were extremely well matched and showed every willingness to play fast open rugby. Dominated by two teams whose defence was strong and aggressive, there were many errors made on both sides throughout. Forced, by dint of a combination of injury and non-availability, to field two players in the second row unused to that position Ryan Harding (normally a prop) and Oakley Goodland (normally no 8) both performed really well to ensure near parity at the set pieces, of which there were quite a few.
Both teams tested each other out in the early stages with play moving swiftly from 1 end to the other. At one stage Keynsham had a period of pressure inside the home 22 but failed to get on the scoreboard. An early change of personnel saw Teignmouth prop Callum Browse replace Ben Allison. From a penalty for holding on in a tackle, Teignmouth had a 5-metre lineout and from the ensuring action Jack Bowden touched down for the opening try; conversion missed 5-0. There was a free kick at the Keynsham kick-off and a tapped penalty saw the home side make 40 metres but Keynsham’s scrambling defence made the situation safe. Keynsham wing-forward Callum Fennel was yellow carded for what was deemed a dangerous tackle and shortly thereafter they spoilt a possible try when ever-threatening centre Will Sowden’s pass went into touch. Pressure from Keynsham near the end of the half saw Jack Weston, from a scrum near the line, flip the ball to Jon Pearce, who scooted over for a touchdown; Challengers conversion edging Keynsham ahead 5-7. Teignmouth probably just edged the 1st half due to territory and chances, so the stage was set for a close 2nd half.
The kick-off at the start of the 2nd half was not taken cleanly, but the situation was tidied up and Brad Newton burst away from defence with a 70 metre break stopped just short of the line ( a Weston style dive might just have made it!). The ensuing line out led eventually to a try by Jack Evans; conversion missed, 5-12. Straight away Keynsham were back on the attack, stout defensive work this time stopping George Warren from crossing. More pressure followed but no rewards were forthcoming. Tim Coughlan was replaced by his brother Matt at this stage. It was soon time for Teignmouth’s turn to exert pressure and Keynsham failed to take a golden opportunity to clear their line lead to a try by no 8 Alex Ford; conversion missed 10-12. From the re-start it was Teignmouth who failed to tidy up the kick and Keynsham were, yet again stopped on the line. Joe Davis was subbed for Rob Breckon with an arm injury. The home side were soon back in Keynsham’s 22 and following a series of lineouts and scrums centre Will Sowden shouldered his way through the defence to score near the posts; Mike Saxton converting 17-12. With 5 minutes to go, Jack Josham was introduced for Ryan Harding and there was a double substitution for Teignmouth. For the last 7 minutes the action was all within Teignmouth’s 10 metre line. Scrum after scrum, penalty after penalty, lineout after lineout yet still the home defence held. They lost scrumhalf Kyran Rendle to a yellow card but the last movement of the game saw Keynsham knock on in the centre whilst going wide.
Final result 17-12, giving Keynsham a losing bonus to take back only.
Possibly they deserved more than that but they will have to be more clinical and make better decisions at crucial times. Nevertheless a good game to watch, so thank you boys.
Keynsham 18 - 17 Okehampton
Keynsham welcomed a large contingent of supporters to the Crown Field for the mid table clash in the South West 1 league game. They and the home spectators were given a fast, exciting game which failed to reach its promise in terms of quality, due to both sides making too many errors.
Keynsham took the lead after 5 minutes from a penalty by Sam Challenger following a high tackle offence. A missed touch kick from a defensive penalty saw Keynsham punished as Okehampton ran the ball back with speed and good off-loading and made fully 60 metres; but a counter-attack led by hooker Jack Evans regained much of the distance lost.
On 17 minutes Okehampton had a simple penalty near the sticks for an off-side offence but their kicker, Richie Friend failed to convert it. Keynsham then had a period on the attack and one passage of play saw them go through 12 phases before they knocked on and the Okehampton line was cleared. At 30 mins Okehampton 2 most dangerous backs, centre Rhys Palmer and full back Kieran Lee, linked up for Lee to dot down and excellent try for the visitors; Friend narrowly missed the conversion to leave the score at 3-5. Joe Davis was replaced by debutant Ciaran Chester who took over in the centre with Challenger moving to stand-off. 3 minutes from the half time whistle strong running by Palmer in the centre, assisted it must be said by some poor tackling, led to a try wide out on the left by the aforementioned Palmer; conversion wide of the mark. 3-10. Okehampton had a further opportunity to edge further in front before half time but another easy penalty was missed.
So, a half time score of 3-10 must have made good reading for the home side following a scrappy 1st half where the Keynsham scrum was under pressure unusually, Jack Weston often having to clean up a scrum moving backwards. The line out too, was poor on long throws and there’s work to be done in that area. The much-vaunted defence was also creaking particularly in the midfield areas although it was still pretty awesome at close quarters to our own line. So there was work to be done in the second half.
There was a notable change of tactic from the home side on the re-start with kicks being put in behind the defensive line. After just 2 minutes, from one such kick by scrum half John Pearce, Keynsham won a 5-metre line out and Callum Fennell scored from a well set up driving maul. The conversion was missed, 8-10. Still using the kicking tactic Keynsham were soon again in an attacking position and were able to disrupt the Okehampton scrum causing the ball to bobble about, first to it was Brad Newton who picked up, stepped inside and fed Jack Weston who dived over near the posts, Challenger converted, 15-10.
Okehampton replied when no 8, Martin Harrison-Brown broke several tackles in the midfield, feeding to that man Palmer, who again showed his prowess with a try, Friend converting this one, 15-17. Ryan Harding took over as prop from Matt Coghlan at this point. With time ticking away an off-side decision at a ruck gave Challenger another shot at goal, gratefully accepted – 18-17; nail-biting stuff. Okehampton fought right back and 1 very threatening attack was snuffed out by a superb tackle from Gaz Bradnock. With 5 minutes to go Okehampton made some final changes to personnel and camped within 10 metres of the line. A combination of stout defence and gritty scrummaging kept the visitors out. They did earn a penalty at the end of this spell but an easy kick was again missed, this time by replacement stand-off Luke Simmons.
The result of the game was that Okehampton lost by 1 point, not that Keynsham won by 1 point. They were badly damaged, as Keynsham have been in the past, by their kicker not having his kicking boots on. Not a classic game but certainly enjoyable, and it is worth mentioning two Keynsham players who have not been named in the match detail, home debutant George Warren on the wing and full-back Sam Hedges. The play of both these two must have pleased the coaching staff, who obviously were delighted that the whole squad had dug in an manufactured a 4 point league win.