The lads traveled to North Devon and found the ground in great condition and the game was played in splendid weather, sunshine and very little breeze. Both sides showed every willingness to produce open, flowing rugby and the pace seldom dropped, ensuring that the large crowd were entertained throughout. That said, what must follow, is that the quality of the game did not match the intentions. Both sides were guilty of over elaboration and failure to retain possession and, consequently, neither team were able to build any pressure on the other.
10 minutes into the game 2 successive off-side penalties gave Ollie Conybeare a chance of a pop at goal which he gratefully accepted to take the lead. By this stage too the Keynsham scrum was already showing signs of creaking and the seeds had been sown for what was to be a torrid afternoons’ set pieces. Dan Moody retired with a blood injury on the 30-minute mark and was substituted by Josh Clayfield. By the time he returned at the start of the second half Crediton had edged 3 points clear courtesy of two fine penalties by Ollie Avery-Wright.
Keynsham started the second half looking like a totally re-galvanised side and were soon within striking distance of the line however, a driving maul was turned over and play returned far upfield. With 10 minutes gone Cieran Chester intercepted on his own 10-metre line and shot off. He was clobbered by the cover tackler but, 3 phases later right wing, Marlon Dropsy, scored in the corner to edge Keynsham in front; Conybeare’s conversion missed. Shortly thereafter Jake Warren and Kieran Etheridge replaced Ash Linton and Sam Crabbe. Crediton regained the lead through a super try from Ed Brady, unconverted, and minutes later a well hit penalty from Conybeare hit the upright and bounced back. This was to prove to be their last chance and to add to their woes they failed to hang on to a losing bonus point thanks to a drop goal and penalty from Avery-Wright. Final score 17-8.
Keynsham 38 Sidmouth 32
A really pulsating game was on show at the Crown Fields on Saturday when the home side just clung on to win by a narrow margin 38pts to 32. Both sides played with speed and flair and, for the first time this season, Keynsham strung together co-ordinated phases of play which were well matched by the lively visitors, playing their first ever fixture against the club.
The Black and Ambers had another debutant in the squad, Josh Clayfield at scrum half, and he was called into action in just the third minute when winger Adam Teasdale retired with a knee injury, John Pearce moving to wing. After 9 minutes quick ball from a lineout followed by bursts by Jack Weston and Callum Fennell moved the ball wide and a chip kick and wicked bounce gave Sam Challenger the opportunity to touch down for the first try which was unconverted. Sid mouth replied in the 14th minute when, following a penalty, a line-out drive gained considerable distance and centre Hodge ran a good line to shred the tattered defence to touch down under the posts; outside half Retter adding the points. 3 minutes later when the home side were pressing once again Sidmouth intercepted and long distance try seemed certain but speedy recovery work by the backs saved the day. 25 minutes gone and Keynsham attacking again, the ball moved left, then right then left again and from a final Weston pass Matt Carr squeezed over for his debut first team try – well deserved. Sam` conversion making it 12-7. In the next 6 minutes the sides swapped penalties and on 32 minutes Keynsham went further ahead via a Pearce try; this coming after breaks by skipper Hayden Johnson and Weston; Challengers conversion good. Before half time they`d added a further 7 points and secured their try bonus. Carr cross-kicked, Marlon Dorset chased and tackled inside the 22 forcing the visitors to ruck and maul on the retreat; the attempted clearance kick was charged down and George Warren weaved over to allow Sam to add the conversion. So, a cracking half ended at 27-10, but Sidmouth had played well and threatened the home line on more than one occasion., so it was not the time to be complacent.
Before 2 minutes had passed in the second half Keynsham had another try under their belts. A chip through by Ollie Coneybeare, a little tap from the boot of Pearce stopping the ball going into touch and Ollie beat the defence to score; ugly but effective! 32-12. An immediate response from the visitors saw them score in the right-hand corner, winger Cowan-Wells being the man and Retter added the extras with a fine conversion. Fennell left the fray at this point and Joe Clements took over as flanker. Weston found himself alone charging through but was hauled down; from the subsequent scrum Sidmouth were penalised and Challenger added three more points to his collection. A couple of minutes later Weston was yellow-carded for a high tackle and Darren Uren took over prop duties from Tim Coughlan. During Weston`s enforced 10-minute absence Sidmouth scored two tries, the first far out on the right and the second (and their bonus point), a slick try by winger Cian Warren, one of which was converted. Between these two tries Sam notched another penalty for the home side and Coghlan returned in place of Ryan Harding.
10 minutes to go and the score was 38-29, but that soon became 38-32 with the second of two penalty shots by Retter soaring between the posts. Sidmouth strived tooth and nail to bag the winner but were repulsed at the last gasp time and time again. With the kitchen sink already in the mix, there was a huge sigh of relief from the home crown when Josh Woodman scuttled away from a maul with the ball tucked firmly under his oxter. He was tackled, fed the ball back and Pearce banged it to the far side of the football ground – please can we have our balls back?
It`s hard to understand why the visitors have yet to win a game, very able opponents and we`ll do well to get a result in the return match, thoroughly deserving of their two bonus points. As for our boys? A great improvement in team connectivity and plenty to work on, enjoy a week off next week and come back re-invigorated!
All in all well worth the entrance money, thank you.
North Petherton 24 Keynsham 17
The first away league game was at North Petherton and the Keynsham squad travelled with hope having done the double against this opposition last season, restricting them to just 3 points over the two games. This had been achieved by the forwards completely dominating `Pethy`. So, expectations were high amongst the few travelling supporters as well.
These hopes and expectations were soon shattered as the home side showed every likelihood of reversing the situation from the outset, despite an early setback. The first half was played at speed but with very little accuracy from either side. Knock-ons, fumbles and `hail Mary` passes were in abundance, but it was North Petherton who were the quicker to the break downs, and Keynsham were turned over or driven off the ball on too many occasions. The fact that they were not used to being on the back foot so much was mainly the cause of their much-vaunted defence being constantly stretched to almost breaking point.
The Black and Ambers scored within 4 minutes when Jack Weston broke from a 5-metre scrum and quick hands saw Adam Teasdale run a nice line from off blind-side wing to touch down near the post, Sam Challenger converted. 8 minutes later, John Pearce intercepted a promising home attack and went on a mazy run but was turned over when the support was slow arriving; a hack through, chase and untidy back-peddling almost brought the home side a try but the defence just held out. Pethy had an opportunity the get on the scoreboard after 15 minutes but a relatively easy kick went wide. They did however score a try from centre Griffin which was converted by Frost. A Keynsham penalty was just wide shortly thereafter. The lads` scrum continued to creak and they were forced into an attacking throw just 5 metres out. A confident and tidy catch and drive enabled the Pethy prop, Caulfield to notch their second try, the conversion missing. Just on half time a Keynsham attack looked threatening but was spoilt by another knock-on. Half time - North Petherton 12, Keynsham 7.
There needed to be much more control in the second half and the home side managed this, giving plenty of ball and space to their young, speedy back-line, but Keynsham`s improvement was not so pronounced. George Warren and a debutant for Keynsham, Sam Crabbe, had replaced Dan Moody and Phil Harvey, when Sammy slotted a penalty. The home riposte was quick as winger Allen touched down for their third try, converted by Frost. Lewis Shrub joined the fray for the local boys at the expense of Jack Cowan but a huge surge from a 5-metre scrum saw Callum Fennell yellow carded and a penalty try to secure Pethy`s bonus point followed. There was then a yellow for the home prop to even the numbers and a breakaway from a line-out maul by Josh Woodman allowed Pearce to scuttle across the line and to the posts for 7 points which put Keynsham into the losing bonus point zone. 5 minutes from time, Weston was sin-binned but North Petherton’s kick from the 22 was wide and they had a final chance to deny the visitors the bonus point but messed it up with a knock on. Final score 24-17.
As a geological aside, there was an earth tremor in the Bridgwater area registering 3.8 on the Richter scale when prop `Big Al` and `Moods` collided torso to torso!.
Definitely lucky to come away from this game with a point boys, but full marks for a defensive effort on the back foot. Some work required please before Sidmouth come a ‘calling next week.
Keynsham RFC 26 - Newton Abbot RFC 12
A try bonus point was again left in the changing room when the third home match of the league season was played at the Crown Field on Saturday, the visitors on this occasion being Newton Abbot. The match was played in really warm conditions, not easy for the players of both sides.
The first ten minutes was all Keynsham’s who came out of the trap running. Bursts by Cieran Chester, on the wing, and Josh Woodman, hooker brought a second minute opportunity but a handling error saw the ball go into touch.
A powerful scrum and several mauls just brought a penalty, slotted by Sam Challenger after 5 minutes, a scrum infringement allowed Challenger to kick a second penalty. Another chance was spilt on 16 minutes when the home side conceded a penalty when better control would have yielded more points. Phil Harvey retired from the fray with a back spasm at this stage and was replaced by Darren Uren. The Black and Amber took a scrum against the head and a searching kick by scrum-half John Pearce took play to within 7 metres from the “Whites’” try-line. From that position a searing break by the visitors’ full-back Partridge and link up play by centres Saxton and Brown stretched K’s defence and the attack was only stopped at the 22-metre mark. Keynsham cleared this but 2 successive penalties brought the play back to the 5 metres line. This time it was the Whites who conceded a penalty to relieve the pressure. 32 minutes gone and, somewhat against the run of play, the visitors them scored a try in the right-hand corner; winger Josh Daly touching down and their captain Jake Monnington slotted a difficult conversion to edge Newton Abbot ahead. A third penalty from the boot of Challenger completed the scoring in an uninspiring first half.
Again, in the second half the local lads started strongly and they eventually scored their first try after 8 minutes. Following many pack surges, Pearce sniped away and Matt Clifton touched down, Challenger’s conversion taking the score to 14-7. Joe Clements was swapped with Callum Fennell at this stage. An intercept and strong run by Ollie Conybeare brought play to within 7 metres of the visitors line, a penalty ensued and Keynsham opted for a scrum, from which Jack Weston notched try no 2, Challenger’s kick just missing.
At 21 minutes, a break from 40 metres out saw Marlon Dorset score under the posts, the conversion making it 26-7 and the game sealed, just get the bonus point now! 5 minutes later Clements came back for the hobbling Jack Cowan. The Whites never gave up and were rewarded with a second try, scored by Aaron Brown. The home side did not threaten to get the fourth try required.
Once again Keynsham’s defence was of the highest order and they denied a threatening back-line any time or space thus forcing errors. The pack had its usual solid performance.
Next challenge is North Petherton away, are you up for it lads?
Keynsham RFC 24 - 14 Newent RFC
The second match of the league season was played at the Crown Field on Saturday in sub-Saharan conditions. The local side fielded 1 newcomer to the squad and welcomed back winger Marlon Dorsett after several seasons at Dings Crusaders; last week’s debutant winger Sheamus Connolly moving to start at full-back.
The first half was played at a heck of a pace, the visitors not showing that they had reportedly travelled with a less than full strength squad, as indicated by the fact that they only had one substitute available pitch-side. That this pace was maintained throughout the first half was assisted by the frequent stoppages for injury, 47 minutes being the timing for the 40 minutes play. Keynsham went into a very early lead when Newent were pinned back 10 metres from their line with an excellent box-kick chase; the defence conceded a penalty and after 3 mauls from the ensuing line-out scrum-half John Pearse squirmed over to touchdown, Sam Challenger adding a fine conversion. The Black and Ambers continued to dominate proceedings but failed to go further ahead due to a mixture of great defence work and their own carelessness. Joe Davies was injured but played on, only to suffer another injury and had to withdraw from the action. Dan Moody came on in the centre and Challenger moved to No10 (our new PM?). 36 minutes in another bit of slack play gifted the visitors’ an intercept try by centre Jack Guy, Tom Devries converting to tie the scores. Immediately after, Pearse went on a searing blind side break from 35 metres and was only just tackled by the line with a superb cover tackle from Devries.
So, the half ended all square. Keynsham having been the more potent side for the majority of the half, but Newent finished much the stronger, despite being heavily beaten at the scrummages. With the speed and overall accuracy generally in the game both defences should be proud of their achievements in nullifying the attackers, the tackling by both sides being of a high order.
The second half saw the home side introduce changes in the front and back rows, Ryan Harding taking over from Phil Harvey and Lewis Bush for Jack Josham. In a similar manner to the first half, the local boys scored and early try. Bush made his impact very early on with a storming run. This brought a Keynsham scrum 10 metres out and Jack Weston touched down for a push-over try, Challenger converting. Visiting wing Ollie Wood had to leave the game after 9 minutes with a neck ‘stinger’ replaced by Sam Jackson. There was immediate Keynsham pressure when Bush and Weston linked up twice in the same surge but progress was marred by a knock-on. The local side should have put the visitors to the sword at this stage such was their advantage but Moody decided to stop short of the line when his momentum would surely have brought a try (headlights and rabbit spring to mind!), then Weston fumbled a push-over try when the scrum got turned, and the opportunity was lost. Half way through this half Harvey returned for Tim Coghlan and Josham for Joe Clements. A Newent intercept followed shortly thereafter, and from a chip ahead they beat the defence, Leo Oakley being the man responsible, we believe. Devries’ conversion again levelling the scores.
Pressure on the visitors caused them to kick directly to touch and following the lineout Hayden Johnson scored K’s third try, Challenger converting. A bonus try opportunity loomed following drives by Harvey and Bush but was again spurned when there was a knock-on. Shortly before the end Joe Clements returned in place of the hard-working Jack Cowan. At the last gasp Keynsham denied Newent a losing bonus point when Challenger slotted a fine drop goal. The final whistle then blew – 24pts to 14.
Some satisfaction for the home side, but they may rue this as a lost opportunity, so much possession-so little reward. They need to be more clinical. Newent will have left disappointed at not securing a bonus point, but should be pleased with the spirit shown, the endeavour and accuracy of the defence; an interesting encounter is on the cards in the return fixture.
Keynsham’s Man of the Match was Josh Woodman, who was up directly against a large fit no 2, ran well, tackled well and threw well.
Get those knocks fixed for Newton Abbot next week, boys.
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.
Keynsham RFC 15 - 10 Devonport Services RFC
The re-played fixture took place at the Crown Field on Saturday, a dry but very windy day, with the wind blowing from corner to corner. Keynsham started really brightly with the wind behind, despite making a mistake at the first kick off. They turned the ball over from the first scrum, won a penalty and from the ensuing line out near the corner Joe Clements forced his way across the try line; Sam Challenger slotting a terrific conversion. In the sixth minute, a raking kick by Challenger took the home side up to the 5 metre mark. Services messed up the line out and from the following advancing scrum, scrum half and skipper, John Pearce spotted a gap on the blind side and scuttled over for try no 2. This time Challenger`s kick narrowly missed.
Thereafter Devonport began to exert control. Winger Mikey Johnson made a great run and split the defence but the last pass went to ground. They eventually got their reward after 34 minutes when prop Struan Main scored wide out after Keynsham’s defence had been stretched both ways. This was not converted. A great run from the kick off by Services fly half Tom Pullinger, opened up a further opportunity before half time, but K's defence held out. It was a sloppy performance all round in the last 30 minutes of the half, both sides trying too hard to create openings.
The second half started with the visitors in ascendance. They got their driving mauls rolling and pressurised the home defence but the defence held. The Keynsham defence was ‘in your face’ for long periods of the game and this probably caused the visitors winger to drop the ball when a try seemed inevitable after a fine break from their hooker. They did however close the gap to just 2 points when winger Johnson made the most of space near the touch line and fed the supporting Ed McGinley for their second try. From the kick off Keynsham gained possession only for Moody to be pinged for holding on, which he was also sin binned for much to the surprise of the spectators. The resulting long range attempt was wide of the mark. Lewis Bush and George Powell took over from Dan Harvey and Phil Harvey respectively.
With 20 minutes left and playing against the strong wind it seemed like Keynsham were up against it. The boys seemed to have a different idea. Working their way out of their own 22 to within 10 metres of Devonport's line, it was excellent ball retention and work rate from forwards and backs alike as they went through 25 phases. The end result a penalty in front of the posts which was duly slotted by Challenger, moving the score to 15-10.
A shuffle in the back line saw James Wetton take over at 9 and John Pearce move to the wing. The remaining 15 minutes consisted of Devonport throwing everything at the Keynsham line only to be repelled each time. A driving line out resulted in another yellow card, this time for Bushy. The 14 men held out though and a huge scrum with the reintroduction of Harvey at prop won the penalty with a couple of minutes on the clock. The home side took the scrum again and a great platform allowed Man of the Match Hayden Johnson to gallop away down the blindside making valuable metres. After a couple of pick and goes Wetton kicked it off for the park with Keynsham holding out for an important victory. A good result for the lads showing excellent grit and determination in the last 20 minutes when all things considered they played well below their capability.
Thank you to Virtue Interior Systems for their sponsorship of Saturdays game. Keynsham ran out comfortable winners over bottom placed Coney Hill scoring 8 tries in the process. Our match sponsors picked Joe Davies as their man of the match!
Keynsham RFC 27 - 22 Devonport Services RFC (Game Abandoned after 63 minutes)
Was this a game or wasn’t it? The question was raised time and time again in the after-time assessments. In truth, the answer will be given definitively by the League authorities in the fullness of time.
It was a match of two sections, a half and two thirds! The first half saw a dominant Keynsham who went in at half time leading 24-10. The second session was all Devonport Services; they had brought the score back to 27-22 when the referee pulled a fetlock after about 25 minutes and could not continue. There was no other qualified referee in attendance unfortunately.
The home team went ahead 3-0 courtesy of a penalty by Joe Davies and stretched that to 10 by from a try by prop Ben Angell, converted by Davies. Having another of his better days, Davies then converted his own try. Services came back to 17-10 via two unconverted tries before second rower, Dan Harvey stepping up from the second xv, scored K’s third try; Davies once again adding the extras.
The visitors came out of the blocks quickly in the second session with a converted try. Davies then replied with a penalty to move it to 10 points lead again. Keynsham’s tackling, much vaunted this season – and rightly so – fell away badly in this section and Devonport scored another unconverted try. They were, therefore, a bonus point to the good when the game stopped.
It seems that there are several options open in regard to this match. Game void - replay being the most likely. A potential problem is the lack of alternate dates before the end of season; it is unlikely that Devonport could make the long trip for a mid-week re-play. Let the result stand – could be crucial league points at stake by the end of the season for both or either sides. Call it a draw, 2 points each – same potential difficulty. Wait and see – depends on both teams’ results in the remaining games. Or maybe the League authorities have another cunning Baldric plan! We shall see.
A big thank you to our match day sponsors IVC Vetcare, thank you for your continued support!
THE GAME IS BEING PLAYED ON SATURDAY 16TH MARCH, KEYNSHAM HAVE HAD TO FORFEIT THEIR SOMERSET CUP GAME WHICH WAS DUE TO BE PLAYED ON FRIDAY 15TH MARCH.
Keynsham RFC 19 - 41 Hornets RFC
Improvements will be forthcoming, no doubt? That was the question posed after 2 very poor performances. There were some slightly better aspects when the first xv played Hornets at the Crown Field on Saturday, but not many, and not enough, as they missed an opportunity of stretching the gap away from a relegation spot with home advantage.
Hornets started stronger and pressurised the home line but the defence held and they moved up-field. Once there, two massive driving mauls took them to the line and Joe Clements, playing as hooker on this occasion, squeezed over for a try, which Sam Challenger converted after 13 minutes. 10 minutes later, a very slick handling movement by the visitors created space for their highly elusive winger, Carter, to beat several defenders in a weaving run to the line from 40 metres out. This was converted to equal things up. Bushy retired with a knee injury shortly thereafter and was replaced by Rugbin Edwards. He played as flanker with Matt Withey moving to no 8. 31 minutes in, and Rob Breckon was sin-binned for a high tackle. From the resultant penalty Hornets had a 5-metre line out and in the ensuing phases their centre Gadd scored try no 2, which was also converted. Keynsham came back and pressurised the visitors’ line, leading to a yellow card to level the team numbers. They gave away a penalty when in a try scoring position and a huge clearance kick was not cleared up by the home side and a third, this time unconverted, try was shipped. The half ended with yet another Keynsham attacking move lost by a mistake in handling. Score 7-19.
Once again, the front 5 dominated set play proceedings, once again the line outs did not function consistently, once again too many mistakes in all areas of the pitch. Plenty to talk about at half time then.
The second half started with Keynsham still in a generous mood. They made a hash of gathering the re-start kick, fumbled with a bouncing ball and lost a defensive line-out to give the Hornets an attacking platform. From a forward drive, held up near the line, their stand-off, Disney, sneaked around the short side and stole in for their bonus point try. (There was then a lengthy pause whilst a Keynsham prop forward had lessons from another forward as to how to put on a boot properly and lace it up). Keynsham then had what was to be their only period of dominance. Firstly, Rich Court fought his way clear from a catch and drive line-out to touchdown and 6 minutes later, after a series of 5-metre scrums, were awarded a penalty try. This narrowed the gap to 5 points at 19-24 and all to play for.
Oops, the local boys again failed to handle the re-start and the gap was back to 10 points with a gifted try. Keynsham’s scrum dominance was snatched away at this point when the scrums became uncontested, although they were, as the rules stipulate, playing against 14 Hornets. It was Hornets who still had the sting (sorry, I had to work that in!) and ran in two more tries, one unconverted and the other one converted at the final whistle.
Disappointing, but credit to the visitors, whose back three were very impressive with ball in hand.
It is time for the squad to regroup and consider if they wish to continue to play at this league level. To do so requires them to play as a team not individuals, and to remember that training and commitment to one’s teammates is a necessity not a luxury, to be done at will.