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.