Keynsham Rugby suffer setback in league campaign

January 20 2016

Keynsham Rugby experienced just their second loss of the 2015/16 season, succumbing 3-8 away at Chosen Hill Former Pupils.

January 2016

by Rob Breckon

Keynsham Rugby experienced just their second loss of the 2015/16 season, succumbing 3-8 away at Chosen Hill Former Pupils.

With the previous week’s fixture against Stroud postponed due to waterlogged pitches, Keynsham had to wait until January 16 to resume their Western Counties North league campaign.

Keynsham travelled up the M5 to face Chosen Hill, a side they had beaten at home earlier on in the season.

Playing down the slope, the visitors started the stronger playing with tempo and using the width of the pitch to great effect. An early lineout provided an ideal platform for a forwards orientated attack with hooker Tom Lewis finding his man to set up a well worked driving maul.

The Keynsham pack worked their way towards the try line and prop Tim Coghlan appeared to have been the beneficiary of their solid work by dotting down, except for the referee deeming his efforts to have been a double movement.

Continued pressure on the hosts soon told, allowing fly half Joe Davies to take an early 0-3 lead.

With the slope playing a considerable factor in the game, Keynsham, for the majority of the half, were making the most of their possession while effectively dealing with Chosen Hill’s attack, which generally looked to attack using one-out rugby. 

Keynsham’s further pressure near to the home side’s try line provided a couple of additional penalty opportunities with Davies’ two strikes drifting wide, the soft and boggy pitch underfoot causing particular problems for his planting foot.

With the amber and blacks pack working together well, the backs were able to attack on the front foot, making a number of penetrating line breaks, particularly a line cut by centre Dave Fairless, who appeared to have scored an impressive try except for once again the referee deeming it to have been not scored and held up.

Keynsham disappointingly went in at half time down two points following a late pick and drive from a rare piece of Chosen Hill possession in Keynsham’s 22. Half time 5-3.

The second half momentum shifted to the home side who started strongly, putting Keynsham under the cosh for at least 15 minutes. Keynsham’s defence stood strong and valiantly resisted a second score but were forced to concede three points, allowing Chosen Hill to stretch their lead to 8-3.

Chosen Hill’s fly half opted for a kicking orientated strategy in the second half keeping Keynsham’s back three busy and forcing the visitors to attack from deep.

Keynsham’s attempt to shift the momentum back to themselves was made more difficult as the pitch conditions worsened as well as losing captain and number 8 jack Weston to injury in the first half compounded by the loss of influential flanker Ben Newman late on in the second half.

As the game reached the last quarter, tempers began to flair and a number of scuffles broke out as well as the home side losing two men to the sin bin for cynical infringements. Sensing their opportunity to clinch the potentially match-winning score, Keynsham launched an assault which, at numerous times, looked to have succeeded except for another try deemed to have been held up as well as scrum half James Wetton’s dive for the line to have been spilt just before he touched down.

Despite Keynsham throwing everything at the home side, Chosen Hill held on leaving Keynsham to rue missed opportunities and leave with a solitary losing bonus point.

Captain Weston said: “It was a disappointing result, we dominated the game enough in the first half and should have been out of sight. Lucky for us other results went our way and we are still in a great position. We have Cheltenham at home this Saturday (January 23) and we will be looking to get back to winning ways.”