Cullumpton 24 - 11 Keynsham
What threatened to be a very rainy day, turned out to be pleasant after the warm up and players only had to compensate for a wet ball and slightly greasy underfoot conditions. Consequently, both sides were willing and to try to plat expansive rugby; as it transpired defences won the upper hand with Keynsham’s getting the main kudos.
The visitors went into an early lead with a penalty converted by Sam Challenger for a 0-3 lead. Cullumpton bounced straight back and for the next 15 minutes pressured the Keynsham defence which held firm without any major alarms. The Black and Ambers broke out of the shackles and had 5 or 6 minutes in the Cullumpton half, but they too saw off any threats to their line. More possession for the home side followed and they eventually got their reward 7 mins before half time, equalising the scores from a penalty by Adam Pearce.
So, the half ended 3-3; two very even matched sides putting a lot of effort in. Notably for the visitors Oakley Goodland won several turnovers and Reuben Edwards put in innumerable tackles. Cullumpton probably just edged the play due to possession and territory.
The start of the second half saw Ben Angell take over as prop from Matt Coghlan and seven minutes later Jack Weston was swapped on for Goodland. On 11 mins Sam Challenger put Keynsham back into the lead with his second penalty and Gareth Jones joined the fray in place of Edwards. 6 minutes later a rare missed tackle saw home skipper Sean Mardell make a severe breach in Keynsham’s defences; there were umpteen phases close to the line and eventually skipper Mardell squeezed over for the first try of the game; Pearce made it 10-6 with the conversion.
Shortly thereafter Cullumpton spilt a ball on the half way line which was seized upon by the ever-lively Brad Newton, he fed Weston who linked twice with Gareth Bradnock, who fed the supporting wing, Rob Breckon. Breckon then just beat the cover defence to dive in for try near the corner- not converted- 10-11. Further forwards pressure on the Keynsham line saw John Snell the home sides’ prop force his way over the line for their second try, converted by Pearce to regain the lead 17-11. There followed another visitors’ substitution Edwards replacing Newton at wing forward, but this change was only to last 4 minutes before Edwards was forced to retire injured (again!), Newton returning.
We were hoping to come away with a losing bonus point at least but conceded a penalty 30 metres out and just right of the posts. Inexplicably the Cullumpton kicker spooned the kick and it fell well short, however the ball was lost and another series of close range drives saw hooker Chris grant dot down for the 3rd try; conversion kicked by Pearce to make the final score 24-11, not a true reflection of the game over all. So it ended on a slightly bizarre note, although Adam Pearce did try to claim that the lofted penalty was a planned move.