Launceston RFC 33 Keynsham RFC 24
The very first scrum which was within the second minute of the game led to Keynsham taking the lead. The pack drove the home side back, skipper Weston picked up and fed John Pearse who went on the short side to find a gaping hole in the defence. He then evaded two would-be tacklers to plunge over the line; Sam Challengers conversion attempt just missing. There was an immediate response from Launceston who secured a catch and drive try claimed by scrum-half Collings; conversion missed to leave it at 5-5. They were straight back on the attack after the re-start and were rewarded with a penalty from Fly-half Coles to edge ahead. Only a forward pass prevented the `all blacks` scoring again from the next re-start but on 14 minutes another catch and drive saw then go 10 points clear with a try by Jenkins and conversion from Coles.
At the 20 minute juncture Keynsham narrowed the gap to just 2 when, following a series of 5-metre scrums Weston scored and Challenger slotted the kick. Thereafter it was all one-way traffic for the hosts and the Black and Ambers were not helped by a shoulder injury to fly-half Ollie Connybear, enforcing a re-shuffle throughout the back-line and the introduction of James Wetton at no 9. A third catch and drive try came from almost the 22-metre line again credited to Collings; then a try from winger Kneebone and finally a superb individual try from full-back Edwards to complete what looked like becoming an embarrassing rout. Thus, it was 30-12 at the break.
The first 10 minutes of the second half saw Keynsham camped in the Launceston 22 but failing to trouble the score-line and they play switched to the middle areas. Dan Harvey was introduced to the front row which continued the dominance that the visitors had shown in the scrum all day. Nevertheless, the hosts moved to 33 points with a penalty by Coles. The last 10 minutes were totally controlled by Keynsham. They scored the best try of the game following breaks by Gareth Bradnock, Oakley Goodland and finally finished off by Challenger who then slotted the conversion.
More was to follow when Joe Davies broke from his own half but out-ran his support. The move petered out but the K`s had a line out close to the line from which it was their turn to bag a catch and drive try touched down by Adam Harrison with possibly his first touch of the ball. This gave them the try bonus they deserved and might have lead to a second bonus point had Challenger`s conversion succeeded. But it didn`t and the whistle went as the kick missed.
A wonderful second half effort from a group who just refuse to give up. We still need vital league points so fingers crossed for the home game versus Lydney; another tough one looms.
Thornbury RFC 10 - 7 Keynsham RFC
Those of us who chose to stand outside in the dreary, overcast weather instead of being in the warmth of the bar watching England wallop the Wallabies, were treated to an absolute gem of a match. Two youngish, mainly home-grown, sides offered up a pulsating game from start to finish.
There was everything on show, speed, skill, power, attack and defence with very little to choose between the teams. No-one minded that it was scoreless until a minute before half-time, such was the excitement. A try was Keynsham’s reward for having had the slight advantage of both slope and wind and came after a neat bit of juggling by Jack Weston who then fed Cieran Chester to force his way over near the right corner flag. Ollie Conybeare slotted a fine conversion. We thought that would herald the half time whistle, but not so and from the kick-off the visitors were immediately back close to the Thornbury line. After a series of pick and drives Keynsham thought they’d scored a second try, but the ref decided that the ball had been held up, awarded a scrum 5 and blew for half time.
Play continued to be fast and exciting in the second half again, with emphasis on the slope the greater portions of action were within 30 meters or so of the visitors’ line. Keynsham did make some telling forays into home territory and with 15 minutes left on the clock, were camped on Thorns line. Surge after surge occurred and still the defence held and eventually after 10/12 phases the Black and Ambers (playing in red away kit!) went wide towards the left. Oh dear, oh dear. Thorns fly-half, Sam Poustie, intercepted a floated pass and was free to sprint 60metres before being tackled by Joe Davis, but it was a 2 on 1 and the supporting Rich Bennett accepted the pass to run in under the posts, Jake Wood converting to make it 7 apiece. After the restart, they again exerted pressure on the Keynsham line, who did manage to get up-field on occasion but a fine run by the ever-dangerous Dan Hussey on the wing almost caught them out.
In the dying seconds Keynsham’s defence was driving them back but from a scrappy retreating maul the ball went into the hands of Poustie whose snap-shot drop-kick crept over. Not a peach of a kick by any means, more of a shrivelled sultana, but it turned out to be a golden pearl for the Thorns who got their 4-point win and cost the visitors the draw they probable deserved. No restart – game over.
Keynsham did miss 2 kickable penalties in the first half by Conybeare, standing in as kicker for Sam Challenger, who, it is believed, bruised his foot during a line-dancing session during the week; he made up with the fine conversion! There were line breaks for Jack Evans, Sam, Dan Moody and Cieran and skipper Weston appeared everywhere to good effect. Everyone put in a great shift and contributed to a fine game but once again there was very little reward in the way of league points and our occasional failure to take the correct option proved costly. Thornbury showed us how to secure points in the dying minutes.
Onwards to Launceston, lads.