Keynsham 19 - 23 Bridgwater & Albion
This was a huge improvement on these teams’ first meting earlier this season at Bridgwater. The game was played at pace throughout, both sides seeking every opportunity to attack, resulting in a game that swung from end to end repeatedly. The fact that it was a relatively low scoring match was in the main down to two very well-orchestrated defences but also due to over elaboration and over-enthusiasm from both sides.
Early pressure was exerted by the home side and many good forwards’ phases lead to an opening try scored by No8 Oakley Goodland, Sam Challengers conversion just dropping short from wide out. A charismatic 3 minutes by winger Bob Beacon was brought to a close through injury at the same time; he was replaced by Dan Moody, Ciaran Chester moving to the wing. BAR’s response was immediate when Keynsham were penalised for off-side and stand-off Stu Heal slotted the kick from 35 metres. This penalty was to be replicated time after time after time throughout the course of the game as the home side failed to meet the ref’s requirements and was to prove their downfall. Another penalty, taken quickly by Bridgewater ended with a try by their skipper, and man of the match, Ollie Dunn and the conversion from near the touch line by Heal made the score 5-10 after 14 minutes.
The visitors were soon on the attack again but an opportunist intercept by John Pearce saw the scrum-half scorch 70 metres to score by the post – Challenger adding the 2 points. Keynsham were back on the attack soon after and a catch and drive was halted near the line but from the ruck a good line from Moody and an inside pass from Kris Borthwick saw the replacement nip over for a try, Sammy again slotting the kick; so. It was 19-13 after about 25 minutes. Could Keynsham have scored again the final result may have been different but despite losing a second row 8 minutes from half time the visitors held on and even had a chance to claw back three points but Heal’s penalty missed; and so it remained 19-13.
7 minutes into the second half Bridgwater, now back to full numerical strength, narrowed the gap from a Heal penalty to just 3 points. Goodland and Phil Harvey were given a rest, replaced by Lewis Bush and Tim Coghlan at this point. An opportunity for the home side was lost when they gave away -guess what? - a penalty from the catch and drive. Several good runs from the mobile pair in the K’s second row – Matt Clifton and Rugbin Edwards – looked like they may open the Bridgy defence, but it held. A loose pass gave the visitors the opportunity for a break-away try but the ball just rolled into touch-in-goal. Goodland made his return to the fray taking over from Jack Evans.
Several more penalties gave the visitors an attacking platform and No 8 Brad Talbot spotted a small gap and strolled in for their second try to put them ahead 19-23 after the conversion. A new penalty, one they hadn’t had before – crossing – lost Keynsham a chance to go ahead again. Keynsham were reduced to 14 men when Coughlan was red-carded, but numbers were evened up a couple of minutes later when Heal was sin-binned. There was no more scoring but not for lack of effort on either side.
All-in-all an entertaining game – shame about the penalties, 1 bonus point is better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick.