Keynsham 17 - 12 Bideford
In a match where a strong, blustery cross-field wind was to prove a distraction, scrum half John Pearce made an early sniping run which gained 30 metres which put Keynsham on the front foot in this mid-table clash. A missed penalty was followed by a successful one by centre Sam Challenger to give the home side a 3-0 lead. In a rare sortie into the Keynsham 22 Bideford took the lead from a try by captain and wing forward Dave Folland converted by Full back Snell to make it 3-7.
Keynsham came straight back and after several surges Gareth Bradnock spun several times and wriggled his way over the white-wash to score wide out; Challenger slotted a magnificent conversion to make it 10-7.
The game speeded up in the last 15 minutes of the first half with both sides off-loading well. A Jack Weston break out from defence looked promising but came to nowt. The first half ended with a double knock on which kind of mirrored both sides efforts in the opening 40 minutes.
Right from the opening play Keynsham went further ahead. Weston fed Pearce from a scrum, he made 10 metres or so, gave it back to Weston who surged through several would be tacklers making another 20 metres before giving it back to the supporting Pearce; he gratefully scuttled under the posts. Challenger added the points. 17-7. Hereafter Bideford changed their tactics and were to dominate the rest of proceedings; their pack kept the ball and exerted tremendous pressure, particularly in the set piece scrums. It was soon time for Bideford to score and they did so. From a 5-metre lineout there was a catch and drive culminating in a second try for skipper Folland. The conversion missed leaving it at 17-12.
More threats to Keynsham’s line were to follow and apart from a break out by Weston and Brad Newton which came to nothing following a rather pointless kick ahead, Keynsham were to spend most of the rest of the game inside their own 22. In fact, the last 10 minutes were all spend within 10 metres of the line. K’s defence was superb, repelling thrust after thrust, though it must be said that the Bideford tactics were a bit adrift spurning several offers of a 5 metre scrum for a tap-and-go.
Relief all around the Crown Field when substitute hooker Tom Lewis planted the ball into touch from a line out. A squeaky 4 league points in the bag.