Keynsham Rugby back in action
SINCE the start of the pandemic, the committee, players and supporters of Keynsham Rugby Club have worked their socks off to ensure its survival.
Garnering all possible grants and subsidies, and persuading sponsors to stay on board, has been an ongoing activity for 18 months at the community club.
Innumerable members have donated time and materials to carry out improvements inside and out, and the club has kept abreast of requirements for social spacing and other measures when it was allowed to open for business.
The coaches at all level have also been loyal, and there has been plenty of activity (periodically, as rules applied) and apart from training, attempts were made to play games under the prevailing contact/distancing/sanitisation guidelines.
The fundraiser in the guise of the Dennis Cockbaine Lottery is continuing and throughout this period continued to pay prizes of £50 and £100 monthly, with Christmas bonus draws at £1,000.
For all that angst, blood, sweat and tears, the club is grateful to those who shouldered the burden and it is looking forward to what is hoped will be a full season of competitive rugby.
The season kicked off with a home fixture against Sidmouth, a side Keynsham have had close games with in the past - and this year was no different.
The match was played at speed on a hard pitch on a hot day so it was not surprising that both sides made repeated handling errors.
Rust was in abundance. Nevertheless a very enjoyable game ensued, enjoyed by a sizeable crowd.
The first half ended with a score-line of 12-11, with tries by Jack Cowan and Joe Concannon and a Dean Weaver conversion, the visitors’ points coming from two penalties and an unconverted try.
Unfortunately, two of the younger players, Lewis Button - making his debut in South West 1 at full-back - and winger Matt Carr went off injured during the half.
They were replaced by Frank Switzer and Joe Clements, Jack Josham moving to the wing spot and Concannon to fullback.
Keynsham’s discipline had been a problem in the first session but was much improved in the second, as they added 18 points whilst keeping Sidmouth scoreless.
There were tries for skipper Hadyn Johnson, following a John Pearce snipe from a line-out, a conversion and a penalty by Weaver and a penalty try awarded for a deliberate knock-on. 29-11 and a pleasing five points league win.
The following week, thesquad travelled to St Austell, a 3.5-hour coach trip to Cornwall with seven changes of personnel, four debutants and a new half-back paring.
A young side with just one player over the age of 30, and the game started poorly in both halves as they shipped a converted try within three minutes on both occasions and were on the back foot from then on.
They did show quite a bit of flair when in possession but had very little time with the ball. The amount of work done in defensive duties was magnificent and it was only in the last ten minutes when their energy flagged, allowing the Saints to run in 14 points.
The first half ended with the score at 14-5, Keynsham’s points from a try by Jake Warren. Only one other try had been scored against them during the second half, apart from the blow within three minutes, and
Keynsham scored their second unconverted try through Olly Gaston finishing off a good move in fine style.
Final score 42-10 and no league points to bring back to Keynsham, but none of the squad should feel that they let the side down,
What should have been the third match was cancelled as our opponents, Stroud RFC, opted to drop out of the league, unfortunately.
The seconds and thirds have played a series of friendlies as their respective leagues were due to start four weeks after the first XVs; details will follow in next month’s issue.
Next matches at the Crown Field are as follows:
Oct 2: Bridgwater & Albion (first XV)
Oct 9: Taunton 2nd XV (seconds), Bernadette’s OB 3rd XV (thirds)
Oct 15 (Friday): Avonmouth (away) in Bristol combination Cup
Oct 23: Lydney (firsts), Wellington 2nd XV (seconds)
Oct 30: Wellington (firsts), Cheddar Valley (seconds)
All welcome, plenty of room, extra hard standing for cars
Photo: Keynsham in action at St Austell