Keynsham 19 - 32 Cullompton RFC
After an even opening 5 minutes Keynsham moved into the visitors 22 and were exerting some pressure when they gave away their first penalty – for not releasing when Cullompton were first to the tackle zone. On 13 minutes Keynsham put together umpteen phases from deep inside their own half and Matt Clifton went over for the first try of the game, this was converted by Sam Challenger to make the score 7-0. There was an immediate response from Cully levelling the scores through a try by their skipper and no 8 Sean Mardell, converted by centre Adam Pearce.
Within a couple of minutes Keynsham were ahead 14-7 following a steal from a maul by Jack Evans, a snipe by scrum half John Pearce who off-loaded to the supporting Clifford who notched up try no 2; Sam converted. The lead was to last but 7 minutes as Cullompton exploited gaps in K’s back-line defence to bag another fine try scored by wing-forward George Woofenden, with Pearce again adding the extra 2 points.
On the half hour, the visitors went ahead with an unconverted try by winger Jack Stoddard. A strange score to some degree as a grubber to the touch line hit the corner flag but stayed in play, in goal. A promising Keynsham attack shortly thereafter was halted by a knock on - a penalty opportunity was to follow and Sam’s shot was successful. 35 minutes gone and there was a long delay following an injury to the home side’s scrum-half John Pearce, who had to stay down until an ambulance arrived some time later. The game transferred to the adjacent pitch for the duration with Keynsham shuffling their resources in the back line; Liam Murray entering the fray on the wing.
Despite the best of efforts from both teams there were no more scores in the rest of the half. So, the first half was fairly even with the visitors just edging the scoring 17-19.
Cully made it abundantly clear that they were playing for keeps and quickly ran in their 4th and bonus point try just 2 minutes into the second half. This was a well-conceived and well taken try by full back Ross Toms, Pearce’s conversion making it 17-26. Keynsham had an opportunity after 10 minutes as a penalty kick to touch gave them a line-out close to the line but Cully turned it over. Ryan Harding and Tom Lewis took over from Phil Harvey and Sam Williams at this point.
14 minutes gone and the visitors made it 17-29 with a penalty by Pearce. Keynsham the lost another opportunity near the line due to ill-discipline (frustration with their performance taking over?). Cullompton scored what was to be the last points of the game on 30 minutes by dint of a penalty by Toms, who was later short with a long-range attempt. Keynsham’s spirit was not lacking, but generally not a good day for players and spectators alike; on the plus side John Pearce did get back from hospital in time for a libation or two.
Our thanks to the Cullompton physio who took on the role for both teams in the second half, as Will was looking after Pearcy.