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.