Keynsham RFC 19 - 41 Hornets RFC
Improvements will be forthcoming, no doubt? That was the question posed after 2 very poor performances. There were some slightly better aspects when the first xv played Hornets at the Crown Field on Saturday, but not many, and not enough, as they missed an opportunity of stretching the gap away from a relegation spot with home advantage.
Hornets started stronger and pressurised the home line but the defence held and they moved up-field. Once there, two massive driving mauls took them to the line and Joe Clements, playing as hooker on this occasion, squeezed over for a try, which Sam Challenger converted after 13 minutes. 10 minutes later, a very slick handling movement by the visitors created space for their highly elusive winger, Carter, to beat several defenders in a weaving run to the line from 40 metres out. This was converted to equal things up. Bushy retired with a knee injury shortly thereafter and was replaced by Rugbin Edwards. He played as flanker with Matt Withey moving to no 8. 31 minutes in, and Rob Breckon was sin-binned for a high tackle. From the resultant penalty Hornets had a 5-metre line out and in the ensuing phases their centre Gadd scored try no 2, which was also converted. Keynsham came back and pressurised the visitors’ line, leading to a yellow card to level the team numbers. They gave away a penalty when in a try scoring position and a huge clearance kick was not cleared up by the home side and a third, this time unconverted, try was shipped. The half ended with yet another Keynsham attacking move lost by a mistake in handling. Score 7-19.
Once again, the front 5 dominated set play proceedings, once again the line outs did not function consistently, once again too many mistakes in all areas of the pitch. Plenty to talk about at half time then.
The second half started with Keynsham still in a generous mood. They made a hash of gathering the re-start kick, fumbled with a bouncing ball and lost a defensive line-out to give the Hornets an attacking platform. From a forward drive, held up near the line, their stand-off, Disney, sneaked around the short side and stole in for their bonus point try. (There was then a lengthy pause whilst a Keynsham prop forward had lessons from another forward as to how to put on a boot properly and lace it up). Keynsham then had what was to be their only period of dominance. Firstly, Rich Court fought his way clear from a catch and drive line-out to touchdown and 6 minutes later, after a series of 5-metre scrums, were awarded a penalty try. This narrowed the gap to 5 points at 19-24 and all to play for.
Oops, the local boys again failed to handle the re-start and the gap was back to 10 points with a gifted try. Keynsham’s scrum dominance was snatched away at this point when the scrums became uncontested, although they were, as the rules stipulate, playing against 14 Hornets. It was Hornets who still had the sting (sorry, I had to work that in!) and ran in two more tries, one unconverted and the other one converted at the final whistle.
Disappointing, but credit to the visitors, whose back three were very impressive with ball in hand.
It is time for the squad to regroup and consider if they wish to continue to play at this league level. To do so requires them to play as a team not individuals, and to remember that training and commitment to one’s teammates is a necessity not a luxury, to be done at will.
Keynsham RFC 25 - 3 Trowbridge RFC
Led from the front by scrumhalf John Pearce, Keynsham`s performance levels took a monumental forward step from the previous 3 league games. Pearce was a constant threat to the visitors, sniping around the fringes or finding gaps in mid-field: this, in turn, brought the best out off Joe Davis at fly-half who had his best game for a long time. Add to this the return of `niggly-nause` in the pack after a few weeks absence and there you have several reasons for the improvement. The front 5 continue to dominate in the set piece, with line-outs still a problem.
An early doors penalty for a collapsed scrum gave Challenger the early chance of three points which was duly converted. A ruck 10 metres out followed a catch and drive move from a line out; from the middle of this burst `poacher-niggle-nause` to touch down theatrically-conversion wide. Trowbridge dominated play for the remainder of the half and were unlucky to see a penalty kick bounce off the upright. They did put 3 points on the board at the stoke of half time. Keynsham’s defence during that time was tremendous, with thunderous tackles coming in from all players; this defence was to be a notable feature of the second half too. If one tackle was to stand out it was Fennell’s on a large lumps pf Trowbridge beef which drew gasps from the crowd – alas, it could not have been as effective as it seemed because the perpetrator did not carry on for long, but the recipient finished the game. The first half could be summed up briefly by saying that both sides were guilty of forcing passes and trying to play too quickly from non-stable ball.
Matt Withey took over from Fennell at the start of the second half and Rueben Edwards for Jack Cowan 10 minutes later. Constant early pressure saw the home team stretch their lead when Withey emulated the `nause` and scooted through the centre of a ruck, Challenger converting his try. Earlier, surprisingly, Pearce had decided to spin a ball wide from the base of a fast forward moving scrum close to the line spurning a push-over try. The visitors again spent some time in K’s red zone but the attacks were resisted and Keynsham cleared their line. They lost an attacking lineout and were back scrambling in defence immediately. After 21 minutes Keynsham went 18-3 thanks to a penalty by Sam Challenger. Once again, the visitors took control of ball and territory for a long period, and, once again, Keynsham’s defence held firm. A penalty kick relieved the pressure and Pearcy made a wonderful break from mid-field; he was practically clear to the line until he was nearly decapitated, he got straight up and continued to run like a headless chicken but was eventually tackled. The visitors tried to run from defence but Cieran Chester scored an intercept try. Challenger had chipped some his toe-nail varnish by this stage and had gone of for repairs, so Joe Davis added the extras. To finish a fine performance ‘nause’ was sin-binned.
Keynsham RFC 31 - 13 Teignmouth RFC
Another crucial win for the lads at the Crown Field on Saturday.
They went into an early 5-point lead when Dan Howlett found a hole through the centre of a maul and shuffled under the posts, Sam Challenger slotting the easy conversion. Keynsham’s dominant pack in the scrums drove the visitors over their line for a touchdown by Lewis Bush; Sam missed the kick. A couple of minutes later Teignmouth got on the board thanks to a catch and drive from a close-range lineout, skipper Parsons getting the nod; conversion missed. These few instances were a harbinger of the game; Keynsham pack utterly dominant in the scrums, almost embarrassingly so, and the visitors having the edge in the lines out and ball retention stakes. Both sides had the propensity to drop the ball in open play; Teignmouth’s was caused by the pressure put on them by the defence whereas the home side did not have that excuse.
The visitors try had the effect of galvanising them and for almost 25 minutes play was within 20 metres of K’s line. The defence was very solid and no glaring chances were created however and their only score, a minute before half time, was a penalty from Tom Gosling.
With a half-time score of 12-8 the second half began seeing Ryan Harding taking over at prop from Phil Harvey. This lead was extended to 19-8 when Sammy latched on to a chip through and forced his way over near the corner flag and then added the conversion. Ollie Sayers Joined the fray at the expense of Adam Harrison, Pearse moving to No9 and half way through the half Ben Angell took over from skipper of the day Coghlan. On 22 minutes Bushie was sin-binned and from the ensuing penalty ‘Teen muscled their way over the whitewash with a catch/drive try. There was no denying that the home spectators were then on tenterhooks until the last 5 minutes as the visitors showed willing.
A fine break by flanker Joe Clements was to ease the situation and lead to a fourth, and bonus point, try. This break indirectly led to penalty near the posts and, to the dismay of the home crowd, Keynsham opted for a scrum, rather then a kick at goal.
What do spectators know?
The dominant home scrum drilled the opposition, went blind, and scored in the corner via Cieran Chester; Sammy again slotting from wide out. The Icing on the cake and the flattering score line followed, just prior to the whistle. A lovely kick to space by Pearse saw the visitors full back in two minds and George Warren was on him to charge his kick down; he was then quickest to react to beat defenders to the ball in-goal for his first 1st XV try. He really deserved it, as a reward for his great performances over the last few weeks.
St Ives RFC 42 - 22 Keynsham RFC
The squad and a goodly number of supporters made the long trip to deepest Cornwall; the squad lacking 5 regular starters for various reasons, the spectators lacking any sense. There was a set-back before kick-off when fly-half Matt Fairless was forced to retire with a pulled hamstring, Adam Harrison moving to 10, Pearsey to 9 and Ollie Sayer taking over a wing spot. A great game of rugby followed, played on a good pitch but with an extremely strong cross-wind in force. There was a late turn-round in fortune which resembled in Lazarus style come-back.
The visitors started briskly and had a penalty opportunity within the first minutes, Matt Withey’s kick just wide of the mark. Lewis Bush, taking over Jack Weston’s no 8 shirt, made amends by crashing over the whitewash following a close-range lineout, Withey’s fine conversion from the touchline just swept outside the posts by the wind. It remained 0-5 until up to the 20th minute, by which stage the ‘Hakes’ had recovered their composure and helped by Keynsham’s ill-discipline had a foothold. Pete Mabbott kicked a penalty to narrow the gap and 5 minutes later they notched a forwards’ try preceded by a series of phases close to the line, Mabbott’s conversion made it 10-5. Rich Court injured his elbow in these exchanges and was replaced by Ben Angel, Ryan Harding shifting to the 2nd row. A penalty and a try by Rhys Brownfield plus conversion completed the home side’s scoring before half time, by which stage the visitors had emptied their reserves bench: Jack Cowan injured his shoulder and was replaced by erstwhile winger Kit Timmis who played as a flanker. 20-5 not looking good.
2 quick tries very early in the second half, both converted, saw St Ives secure their bonus point and it seemed as if the flood-gates were about to open and an embarrassing defeat loomed. But no, the lads’ spirit and commitment to each other, seen on quite a few occasions this season kicked in again. They knuckled down a began to dominate in the scrums and to switch the ball wide and fast This took momentum away from the home side and they were rewarded with a try by poacher Evans from a catch and drive, 34-10. On 35 minutes John Pearse scuttled over under the posts following a snipe from broken play, Withey added the extras for 34-17. An immediate penalty for St Ives stretched it to 37-17 and the re-start was a disaster leading to yet another try. 42-17 and that should have been that, especially after such a set-back. The Black and Ambers’ had other ideas though and finished off with a bonus point try, Evans again claiming the honour. Face saved at 42-22.
Wonderful job boys, the home side’s supporters appreciated your efforts, however please don’t rest on your laurels as there are more challenges ahead.
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!
Launceston RFC 33 Keynsham RFC 24
The very first scrum which was within the second minute of the game led to Keynsham taking the lead. The pack drove the home side back, skipper Weston picked up and fed John Pearse who went on the short side to find a gaping hole in the defence. He then evaded two would-be tacklers to plunge over the line; Sam Challengers conversion attempt just missing. There was an immediate response from Launceston who secured a catch and drive try claimed by scrum-half Collings; conversion missed to leave it at 5-5. They were straight back on the attack after the re-start and were rewarded with a penalty from Fly-half Coles to edge ahead. Only a forward pass prevented the `all blacks` scoring again from the next re-start but on 14 minutes another catch and drive saw then go 10 points clear with a try by Jenkins and conversion from Coles.
At the 20 minute juncture Keynsham narrowed the gap to just 2 when, following a series of 5-metre scrums Weston scored and Challenger slotted the kick. Thereafter it was all one-way traffic for the hosts and the Black and Ambers were not helped by a shoulder injury to fly-half Ollie Connybear, enforcing a re-shuffle throughout the back-line and the introduction of James Wetton at no 9. A third catch and drive try came from almost the 22-metre line again credited to Collings; then a try from winger Kneebone and finally a superb individual try from full-back Edwards to complete what looked like becoming an embarrassing rout. Thus, it was 30-12 at the break.
The first 10 minutes of the second half saw Keynsham camped in the Launceston 22 but failing to trouble the score-line and they play switched to the middle areas. Dan Harvey was introduced to the front row which continued the dominance that the visitors had shown in the scrum all day. Nevertheless, the hosts moved to 33 points with a penalty by Coles. The last 10 minutes were totally controlled by Keynsham. They scored the best try of the game following breaks by Gareth Bradnock, Oakley Goodland and finally finished off by Challenger who then slotted the conversion.
More was to follow when Joe Davies broke from his own half but out-ran his support. The move petered out but the K`s had a line out close to the line from which it was their turn to bag a catch and drive try touched down by Adam Harrison with possibly his first touch of the ball. This gave them the try bonus they deserved and might have lead to a second bonus point had Challenger`s conversion succeeded. But it didn`t and the whistle went as the kick missed.
A wonderful second half effort from a group who just refuse to give up. We still need vital league points so fingers crossed for the home game versus Lydney; another tough one looms.
Thornbury RFC 10 - 7 Keynsham RFC
Those of us who chose to stand outside in the dreary, overcast weather instead of being in the warmth of the bar watching England wallop the Wallabies, were treated to an absolute gem of a match. Two youngish, mainly home-grown, sides offered up a pulsating game from start to finish.
There was everything on show, speed, skill, power, attack and defence with very little to choose between the teams. No-one minded that it was scoreless until a minute before half-time, such was the excitement. A try was Keynsham’s reward for having had the slight advantage of both slope and wind and came after a neat bit of juggling by Jack Weston who then fed Cieran Chester to force his way over near the right corner flag. Ollie Conybeare slotted a fine conversion. We thought that would herald the half time whistle, but not so and from the kick-off the visitors were immediately back close to the Thornbury line. After a series of pick and drives Keynsham thought they’d scored a second try, but the ref decided that the ball had been held up, awarded a scrum 5 and blew for half time.
Play continued to be fast and exciting in the second half again, with emphasis on the slope the greater portions of action were within 30 meters or so of the visitors’ line. Keynsham did make some telling forays into home territory and with 15 minutes left on the clock, were camped on Thorns line. Surge after surge occurred and still the defence held and eventually after 10/12 phases the Black and Ambers (playing in red away kit!) went wide towards the left. Oh dear, oh dear. Thorns fly-half, Sam Poustie, intercepted a floated pass and was free to sprint 60metres before being tackled by Joe Davis, but it was a 2 on 1 and the supporting Rich Bennett accepted the pass to run in under the posts, Jake Wood converting to make it 7 apiece. After the restart, they again exerted pressure on the Keynsham line, who did manage to get up-field on occasion but a fine run by the ever-dangerous Dan Hussey on the wing almost caught them out.
In the dying seconds Keynsham’s defence was driving them back but from a scrappy retreating maul the ball went into the hands of Poustie whose snap-shot drop-kick crept over. Not a peach of a kick by any means, more of a shrivelled sultana, but it turned out to be a golden pearl for the Thorns who got their 4-point win and cost the visitors the draw they probable deserved. No restart – game over.
Keynsham did miss 2 kickable penalties in the first half by Conybeare, standing in as kicker for Sam Challenger, who, it is believed, bruised his foot during a line-dancing session during the week; he made up with the fine conversion! There were line breaks for Jack Evans, Sam, Dan Moody and Cieran and skipper Weston appeared everywhere to good effect. Everyone put in a great shift and contributed to a fine game but once again there was very little reward in the way of league points and our occasional failure to take the correct option proved costly. Thornbury showed us how to secure points in the dying minutes.
Onwards to Launceston, lads.
Keynsham RFC 28 - 11 Cullompton RFC
Home supporters have been exposed to a series of really skilful and enjoyable games this season. This came to and end on Saturday when both teams failed to deliver the standard that is required. Whilst there was much to appreciate with verve and bravery on display there was very little else. Playing conditions, admittedly, took a turn for the worst with a strong blustery wind, incessant light rain throughout the first half, but neither side could string together any cohesive sustained periods of play. It reflected the league positions of the two sides, one 10th the other 13th and the match official on the day did not really help as his decisions were inconsistent at times.
The Keynsham scrum was dominant in the set pieces for the most part of the first have, but this diminished approaching half-time and the visitors then edged it a little; in the last 20 minutes this dominance returned however. The lineouts were a bit hit and miss but somehow seemed to work out on most occasions. It is hard to be specific where these were breaking down, was it wind factor, poor throwing, poor timing by jumpers/lifters or bad communication? Probably a combination, perm any from four!
There was also quite a bit of aimless, if one’s being harsh, or mis-directed, being kind, kicking from hand giving the visitors back three plenty of opportunity to run the ball back, which they frequently did to good effect.
Keynsham opened brightly but could find no way through a stalwart Cully defence and a long-range penalty by Sam Challenger missed narrowly. The visitors then went 6 points clear via 2 penalties from their winger, Luxton. After a series of drives the went wide quickly but right wing Cieran Chester was stopped short of the line. Then Challenger put the first K points on the board with a penalty. This was shortly before half time. In added time in this half, there was loose play from both sides until, eventually, Jack Weston getting the ball out wide and breaking a few tackles before feeding Joe Clements who crashed over in the corner. Challenger’s fine conversion bring the conclusion to the half at 10-6.
The second half saw the immediate introduction of Ben Angell for Phil Harvey at prop and Gaz Bradnock for Oli Sayer on the wing, Sam missed a penalty before Cullompton regained the lead following a couple of 5-metre lineouts, Charlie “the mole” Grant claiming the honour; conversion hit the upright. Sam slotted his next penalty to move Keynsham back into a slender 2-point lead. The impressive Matt Clifton was injured and replaced by Jack Cowan. Keynsham stretched away thereafter running up 15 points in the last 15 minutes. Firstly, Weston muscling his way over after a series of surges by the forwards, Challenger converting, a long-range penalty from the same player and an unconverted try by Weston again, this time from a push over scrum.
Final score 28-11. Consolation for the home supporters came with 4 league points won when the side hasn’t performed well. Good luck next week at Devonport Services boys.
Weston Hornets 45 Keynsham 19
There were ideal conditions at Weston on Saturday for Keynsham’s first competitive game of rugby on an artificial pitch and they started brightly stringing together a series of moves to put the home team under early pressure. This came to nought when they were penalised for crossing and the line was cleared. Unfortunately, that was to be the only sustained cohesion for the rest of the game as, hard though they tried, only short flashes occurred thereafter. Hornets struck with their first try after 7 minutes when wing forward Morrisey finished off a slick move following an overthrown K’s long lineout, Carter adding the conversion.
3 minutes later Adam Harrison shot through a gap close to a ruck and broke clear only for a good tackle and forward pass to stop Keynsham’s progress. Within a couple of minutes Hornets were a further 7 points up with a converted try from Carter, this following a protracted move with good interchange and swift transfers of the ball. It was Hornets ability to keep the ball moving with quick transfers which was to be the defining feature of the game and was the cause of Keynsham, most surprisingly given the defence shown thus far, to miss so many tackles (or perhaps it was the pitch?). Whatever the reason it was a problem as Hornets always made ground with ball in hand.
Keynsham bounced right back from this set back. Reuben Edwards made a break of 30 metres, the move carried on and Keynsham ended up with a lineout 7 metres out from which Jack Evans got the touchdown at the back of a driving maul. Sam Challengers conversion bringing the score to 14-7. But, oh dear Hornets rattled in two tries, one by No 8 Brake and a second by Carter, both converted by Carter to stretch it out to 28-7. A yellow card for a high tackle saw wing forward Morrissey have some time off giving Keynsham the chance to make up some ground on the scoreboard and they were successful pushover try from No 8 Joe Clements. The half ended with the score 28-12.
Joe Davies went down early in the second half, played on but retired shortly thereafter causing a reshuffle in the backline, Ollie Conybeare moving from 15 to 10, Ciaran Chester on at wing and Gaz Bradnock to full back. Within the first 5 minutes any hopes of a major Keynsham revival were lost with a fifth converted try, the scorer this time Bailey at centre, Carter again adding the extras. If that wasn’t bad enough, Hornets skipper Dempsey from the other centre position, caught K’s kick-off and made a good 30 metres but Keynsham scrambled back to save the situation. Jack Cowan made his first team debut in the second row, Edwards moving to blind side and Matt Withey given a breather.
One of the short spells of cohesion mentioned before saw Keynsham scoring their third try through Matt Clifford, Challengers conversion making it 35-19. Another exhibition of speedy ball transfer by the home side gave their right winger, Gadd the 6th try, not converted. It was Cody Rensburg’s opportunity then to make debut for KRFC, Ryan Harding making way. Brake put the icing on Hornets cake with another unconverted try before Keynsham had another short spell of continuous possession and pushed very hard for a consolation try which would have given them a try bonus, but the home defence held out.
Final score, a disappointing 45-19. Keynsham were second best in this game with only the set piece scrum being utterly dominant throughout – nowhere near good enough all-round performance in this league. Let’s hope for better things when Cullompton come a’calling next week.
Keynsham 22 – 29 Bridgwater & Albion