Keynsham RFC 28 - 11 Cullompton RFC
Home supporters have been exposed to a series of really skilful and enjoyable games this season. This came to and end on Saturday when both teams failed to deliver the standard that is required. Whilst there was much to appreciate with verve and bravery on display there was very little else. Playing conditions, admittedly, took a turn for the worst with a strong blustery wind, incessant light rain throughout the first half, but neither side could string together any cohesive sustained periods of play. It reflected the league positions of the two sides, one 10th the other 13th and the match official on the day did not really help as his decisions were inconsistent at times.
The Keynsham scrum was dominant in the set pieces for the most part of the first have, but this diminished approaching half-time and the visitors then edged it a little; in the last 20 minutes this dominance returned however. The lineouts were a bit hit and miss but somehow seemed to work out on most occasions. It is hard to be specific where these were breaking down, was it wind factor, poor throwing, poor timing by jumpers/lifters or bad communication? Probably a combination, perm any from four!
There was also quite a bit of aimless, if one’s being harsh, or mis-directed, being kind, kicking from hand giving the visitors back three plenty of opportunity to run the ball back, which they frequently did to good effect.
Keynsham opened brightly but could find no way through a stalwart Cully defence and a long-range penalty by Sam Challenger missed narrowly. The visitors then went 6 points clear via 2 penalties from their winger, Luxton. After a series of drives the went wide quickly but right wing Cieran Chester was stopped short of the line. Then Challenger put the first K points on the board with a penalty. This was shortly before half time. In added time in this half, there was loose play from both sides until, eventually, Jack Weston getting the ball out wide and breaking a few tackles before feeding Joe Clements who crashed over in the corner. Challenger’s fine conversion bring the conclusion to the half at 10-6.
The second half saw the immediate introduction of Ben Angell for Phil Harvey at prop and Gaz Bradnock for Oli Sayer on the wing, Sam missed a penalty before Cullompton regained the lead following a couple of 5-metre lineouts, Charlie “the mole” Grant claiming the honour; conversion hit the upright. Sam slotted his next penalty to move Keynsham back into a slender 2-point lead. The impressive Matt Clifton was injured and replaced by Jack Cowan. Keynsham stretched away thereafter running up 15 points in the last 15 minutes. Firstly, Weston muscling his way over after a series of surges by the forwards, Challenger converting, a long-range penalty from the same player and an unconverted try by Weston again, this time from a push over scrum.
Final score 28-11. Consolation for the home supporters came with 4 league points won when the side hasn’t performed well. Good luck next week at Devonport Services boys.
Weston Hornets 45 Keynsham 19
There were ideal conditions at Weston on Saturday for Keynsham’s first competitive game of rugby on an artificial pitch and they started brightly stringing together a series of moves to put the home team under early pressure. This came to nought when they were penalised for crossing and the line was cleared. Unfortunately, that was to be the only sustained cohesion for the rest of the game as, hard though they tried, only short flashes occurred thereafter. Hornets struck with their first try after 7 minutes when wing forward Morrisey finished off a slick move following an overthrown K’s long lineout, Carter adding the conversion.
3 minutes later Adam Harrison shot through a gap close to a ruck and broke clear only for a good tackle and forward pass to stop Keynsham’s progress. Within a couple of minutes Hornets were a further 7 points up with a converted try from Carter, this following a protracted move with good interchange and swift transfers of the ball. It was Hornets ability to keep the ball moving with quick transfers which was to be the defining feature of the game and was the cause of Keynsham, most surprisingly given the defence shown thus far, to miss so many tackles (or perhaps it was the pitch?). Whatever the reason it was a problem as Hornets always made ground with ball in hand.
Keynsham bounced right back from this set back. Reuben Edwards made a break of 30 metres, the move carried on and Keynsham ended up with a lineout 7 metres out from which Jack Evans got the touchdown at the back of a driving maul. Sam Challengers conversion bringing the score to 14-7. But, oh dear Hornets rattled in two tries, one by No 8 Brake and a second by Carter, both converted by Carter to stretch it out to 28-7. A yellow card for a high tackle saw wing forward Morrissey have some time off giving Keynsham the chance to make up some ground on the scoreboard and they were successful pushover try from No 8 Joe Clements. The half ended with the score 28-12.
Joe Davies went down early in the second half, played on but retired shortly thereafter causing a reshuffle in the backline, Ollie Conybeare moving from 15 to 10, Ciaran Chester on at wing and Gaz Bradnock to full back. Within the first 5 minutes any hopes of a major Keynsham revival were lost with a fifth converted try, the scorer this time Bailey at centre, Carter again adding the extras. If that wasn’t bad enough, Hornets skipper Dempsey from the other centre position, caught K’s kick-off and made a good 30 metres but Keynsham scrambled back to save the situation. Jack Cowan made his first team debut in the second row, Edwards moving to blind side and Matt Withey given a breather.
One of the short spells of cohesion mentioned before saw Keynsham scoring their third try through Matt Clifford, Challengers conversion making it 35-19. Another exhibition of speedy ball transfer by the home side gave their right winger, Gadd the 6th try, not converted. It was Cody Rensburg’s opportunity then to make debut for KRFC, Ryan Harding making way. Brake put the icing on Hornets cake with another unconverted try before Keynsham had another short spell of continuous possession and pushed very hard for a consolation try which would have given them a try bonus, but the home defence held out.
Final score, a disappointing 45-19. Keynsham were second best in this game with only the set piece scrum being utterly dominant throughout – nowhere near good enough all-round performance in this league. Let’s hope for better things when Cullompton come a’calling next week.