Determined Ks continue positive start to their campaign
The Black and Ambers in action against North Petherton in their first away game of the season
IT looks good for Keynsham RFC if you don't look too closely at the league table for South West 1 - played six, won five, lost one - but it should be noted that they have played only one away game.
There are three games to report on since the October issue. There should have been four, but St Ives RFC have withdrawn from the league competition.
Their first away game of the season was at North Petherton RFC. The first half was played at speed but with little accuracy from either side, with knock-ons, fumbles and 'hail Mary’ passes in abundance. But North Petherton were the quicker to the breakdowns, and Keynsham were turned over or driven off the ball too many times, with their defence stretched almost to breaking point.
The Black and Ambers scored within four minutes when Jack Weston broke from a five-metre scrum and quick hands saw Adam Teasdale run a nice line from off blind-side wing to touch down near the post, Sam Challenger converting. But then the home side scored two tries, converting one to lead 12-7.
Sam Challenger kicked a penalty to close the gap, but the home side’s winger touched down for the third try, which was converted. A dominant home scrum forced Keynsham to yield a yellow card and a penalty try, giving North Petherton a try bonus point. There was then a yellow for the home prop to even the numbers, and a breakaway from a line-out maul by Josh Woodman allowed Pearce to scuttle across the line and to the posts for seven points, which put Keynsham into the losing bonus point zone. Five minutes from time, Weston was sin-binned but North Petherton’s kick from the 22 was wide. Final score 24-17. Keynsham were fortunate to come away with that losing bonus.
A pulsating game at the Crown Fields, where Sidmouth RFC were the visitors, saw the home side cling on to win 38-32. The Black and Ambers had another debutant in the squad, Josh Clayfield at scrum half, and he was called into action in just the third minute when winger Adam Teasdale retired with a knee injury, John Pearce moving to wing.
After nine minutes, a quick ball from a line-out followed by bursts by Jack Weston and Callum Fennell moved the ball wide, and a chip kick and wicked bounce allowed Sam Challenger to touch down for the first try, which was unconverted.
Sidmouth replied in the 14th minute when, following a penalty, a line-out drive gained considerable distance and their centre ran a good line to shred the tattered defence to touch down under the posts, with the outside half adding the conversion.
After 25 minutes, Keynsham attacked again, resulting in Matt Carr squeezing over for his debut first team try – well deserved. Challenger’s conversion made it 12-7.
In the next six minutes the sides swapped penalties, and on 32 minutes Keynsham went further ahead via a Pearce try, Challenger converting.
Before half time they added a further seven points and secured their try bonus. Carr cross-kicked, Marlon Dorset chased and tackled inside the 22, forcing the visitors to ruck and maul on the retreat. The attempted clearance kick was charged down and George Warren weaved over to allow Challenger to add the conversion. The half-time score was 27-10.
With two minutes of the second half, Keynsham had another try under their belts. A chip through by Ollie Coneybeare, a tap from the boot of Pearce stopping the ball going into touch, and Coneybeare beat the defence to score. The visitors’ immediate response saw them score in the right-hand corner, with a fine conversion. Weston found himself alone charging through but was hauled down; from the subsequent scrum Sidmouth were penalised and Challenger added three more point.
Sidmouth then scored two tries, the first far out on the right and the second (and their bonus point), a slick try by the winger, one of which was converted. Between these two tries, Challenger notched another penalty for the home side.
Ten minutes to go and the score was 38-29, but that soon became 38-32, with the second of two penalty shots by their kicker.
There was a huge sigh of relief when Josh Woodman scuttled away from a maul with the ball tucked firmly under his oxter. He was tackled, fed the ball back and Pearce banged it into touch to save the win and five league points.
Following the cancellation of the St Ives fixture, Bridgwater and Albion RFC were the next visitors to the Crown Fields and another cracking game ensued. The home side drew first blood when Ryan Harding touched down for a try, converted by Challenger. On 21 minutes Bridgy had a line-out on the home 22. A good catch and drive followed and when this slowed down, their centre ran a great line to score under the posts; the conversion levelled the scores.
From 28 minutes on, it was all Bridgwater & Albion. Constant pressure in the ‘red zone’ and repeated penalties resulted in a yellow card for skipper Hayden Johnson. More pressure followed, and a final warning from the referee, but the defence held firm.
Against the run of play Keynsham then scored a try. There was a penalty to clear the lines, then a kick through was well followed up by Joe Clements, nailing a Bridgwater defender short of the line. K’s players were quicker to the site of the action and Carr touched down. Challenger’s conversion made it 14-7 at half time.
The visitors started brightly in the second half, but the Black and Ambers held firm and were soon back to 15 players. A powerful driving maul made 30-odd metres, a kick and chase brought play to five metres out and Weston scored from the base of an advancing scrum. Challenger’s conversion was wide so the score was 19-7 with a bonus try looming
A further massive driving maul yielded a penalty, converted by Challenger. The visitors tried their darnedest but the locals boys’ defence stayed strong, and a break by Warren, who almost made it to the try line, was the only clear-cut chance Keynsham had for a bonus try thereafter.
Next home 1st XV games are:
Friday November 7, 7.30pm, v Cleve
Saturday November 23, 2.30pm, v Devonport Services