Keynsham RFC 20 - 7 Okehampton RFC
The New Year started with a bang when the home side surprised the team lying second in the league at the Crown Field on Saturday.
They went into an early 5-point lead when Joe Davies made a break leading to a lineout near the visitors’ line, they then made a bit of a hash of their throw and the arch poacher Jack Evans, starting at wing forward sneaked over the line; Sam Challenger’s kick wide of the mark. After 15 minutes the lead was stretched to ten. This followed 6 phases after Keynsham had secured a turnover and Davies launched a high kick to the corner which was caught by winger Ceiran Chester who crashed in from close distance; Sam’s kick falling short.
The home spectators had further joy 10 minutes later. Davies’ high cross—kick, mis-cued, it must be said, was caught miraculously by centre George Warren who fed winger John Pearse from the back of his hand; the winger showed great pace to out-strip his marker and the cover defence to score a splendid number three try from which Challenger slotted the extra points. A penalty from the same player 8 minutes later completed the scoring for the first half.
It was a half that was utterly dominated by the boys in black and amber. Okehampton did have a few sorties into Keynsham territory and did create a small number of chances but a combination of solid, brave defence, added to by sloppy finishing by the attacking team saw the efforts come to nought.
It was a totally different second half where Okehampton were on top throughout, 95% of play was in the Keynsham half, more than half was in the last third, but very little in the ‘red zone’. The half started with Ryan Harding taking over at prop from Phil Harvey. A penalty for Okehampton in the first minute saw the kick hit the upright and stay out. 8 minutes of play in the Keynsham 22 was rewarded when, after Harvey return at prop for the injured Tim Coghlan, Oke’s scrumhalf, Bruce stole into a retreating home ruck to touch down – excellent knowledge of the laws – Fogarty converted to make it 20-7.
Lewis Bush entered the fray for Dan Howlett with Evans reverting to hooker. Very shortly thereafter skipper Weston was injured and a further pack re-shuffle took place. It was still all Okehampton but the defence stayed strong and focussed and the visitors only had one real further sniff of a try five minutes from time; this was thwarted by a last-ditch tackle by second-row Rich Court.
This was a great victory, a true team effort. The side’s tackling from 1 to 15 was superlative throughout and, whilst everyone bit their bit brilliantly, George Warren’s input was the pick of the bunch.
Well done lads, now travel to St Ives with the same heads on!