Keynsham 36 - 33 Exeter University
What a difference a week makes! After a dire game previously when winning against Clevedon, this was a cracker. Playing the league leaders who had given Keynsham a rugby lesson in the reverse fixture at Exeter, the lads knew they had to give it their all and duly obliged.
A bright start with both teams playing with speed and cohesion set the tone. Exeter struck first with a try following a penalty kick to touch and the subsequent driving maul after 6 minutes, the conversion making it 0-7. Two minutes later Keynsham equalised with a try from second rower Matt Clifton and Sam Challenger’s conversion. 16 minutes gone and the visitors made it 7-14 with a replica of their first try; again, Keynsham responded and were eventually rewarded with a successful penalty from 35 metres out by Challenger. A fine move by the fluid students brought a further try as their right winger went over unopposed, the conversion missed so it was then 10-19. Two minutes before half-time saw Keynsham’s Clifton score his, and the teams’, second. Challenger’s conversion closing the gap to 2 points. From the kick-off Keynsham yielded a silly off-side penalty. The resultant kick to touch and line-out brought about try number 4 for the visitors, yet another carbon copy of tries 1 and 2; half time score 17-26.
Stand-off Joe Davis retired at half time with a dead leg and was replaced by Rob Breckon which enforced a subsequent reshuffle of the backline. Exeter extended their lead to 16 points when their right wing finished off a lovely move which had started deep inside their own half and their kicker added the icing. Keynsham seemed to change gear at this point and were beginning to stretch the students defence on a more regular basis. As the noise level from the crowd grew so their efforts became more and more. A sweet try by Bob Beacon closed the gap to 11 points and belief increased.
More pressure in the visitors’ red zone led to hooker Tom Loser scoring beside the posts giving Sam an easy job to add the extra points. The gap now just 4 points and looking at the possibility of at least 1, if not 2 bonus points, the pressure was rising still further as was the noise level. Just before the 30-minute mark a fourth Keynsham try was greeted with near hysteria – Jack Evans this time receiving the accolades – the conversion nudging Keynsham into a 3-point lead. The students then threw the kitchen sink at Keynsham, determined to regain the lead; truly brave and magnificent defending by all 15 players on the field denied them and as the home side were awarded a penalty for not releasing in injury time a famous victory ensued.
All set to go now for the Bath Combination Cup final on Wednesday – good luck. Thank you to Subway Keynsham who sponsored the match, we hope you enjoyed the day. Well done to Tom Lewis who was voted the Subway Man of the Match.