Keynsham RFC 22 - 12 Lydney RFC
The 2019/20 league season opened at the Crown Field on Saturday in almost perfect conditions. The local side fielded 3 newcomers from previous seasons in the matchday squad, 2 front row men – Josh Woodman and Cody Rensberg - and winger Sheamus Connolly.
The first half was a relatively damp squib in which Lydney certainly had more of the play. Although both sides showed a willingness to play fast expansive rugby, they both tried too hard – definite signs of rustiness. Keynsham started the trend when their initial kick-off when directly into touch, then gave away, or nearly gave away several interceptions, following with several more kicks going directly into touch. The two teams repeatedly lost possession with the local lads being the worst offenders. By 30 minutes the visitors were 6 points clear from penalties by their out-half Tony Wicks, who had also failed with one attempt. 5 minutes from the end of the half, Keynsham managed to string together some cohesive play and got their reward by means of a Sam Challenger penalty. The half ended with another penalty from Wicks when the K’s were penalised at a ruck.
The second half was of a different calibre entirely. It would seem that the local lads were rubbed down by WD 40 to remove their rust (other lubricants are available!) whereas the visitors were not. They started with a very bright opening with George Warren, Challenger and Jack Cowan all almost reaching the line. A huge surge from a scrum 8 metres out saw Jack Weston touch down for the first try of the game, Challenger’s conversion just wide, leaving Keynsham 1 point adrift. After a bit of a rumble involving both packs and a few stragglers, another good spell of play saw Warren just short again and a subsequent knock-on seemed to have lost an opportunity. A great power scrum saw Lyndey repulsed in disarray, the ball popped out and skipper Hayden Johnson was first to react and touch down, Challengers conversion making it 15-9.
15 minutes in Joe Davies was replaced by Dan Moody, Challenger moving to fly half and 2 minutes later a double swap saw debutant Rensberg and Jack Josham take over from Phil Harvey and Joe Clements. Rensberg’s debut was short lived as following 2 impressive drives he was forced from the action with a neck injury - Harvey returning to the fray. Lydney closed the gap to 6 with a penalty from Wicks and some 8 minutes from time Johnson was yellow carded and a torrid last ten looked on the cards. K’s pack and general defence were up to the task; they pinched an opposition lineout, made 15 metres or so with a drive and won a 5-metre scrum. Even with the pack being a man light there was little problem for Weston to notch his second try and secure a great win to start the season – Challenger icing the cake – 22pts to 12pts. Lydney just failed to earn a losing bonus point when in the last move of the game another knock on spoilt all the good work.
Keynsham’s defence was up to last seasons standard, the pack eventually got going and the line-out play was streets ahead of what was on show previously; the stealing of 8 opposition throws and disruption to others testify to this.
It is to be hoped that the player commitment is better than previous seasons and the new coaching team are given full support by the squad and fringe players. No mid-season stag weekends, or taking Granny on a shopping expedition, please!
Highlight for the writer – Adul Tweazel’s Johnny May like mid air retrieval of a box kick!!!
Looking forward to next week.