The better team loses as Keynsham RFC start a bleak streak
Keynsham's defeat at the hands of Chew Valley was a travesty of a result
THREE league games played, three losses, just two losing bonus points banked – that’s the sad news in this report.
Firstly, there was an away game at Chew Valley RFC. It was a travesty of a result as the better team by far on the day ran out losers by 10 points to 16.
It was played on a surprisingly good surface, given the recent heavy rain. The greasy surface and almost ceaseless heavy drizzle combined to ensure that it was never going to be a festival of flowing rugby, but what followed was disappointing- a very stop-start game with too much whistle and messy set-pieces.
Keynsham’s pack was thoroughly on top throughout the game except for two very effective driving mauls from the home side (one of which led to their only try of the game) and one scrum which powered Keynsham backwards; how that scrum came about is a mystery in the context of the preceding and subsequent events.
The match started with Keynsham’s pack gaining fully 40 metres from two successive driving mauls but this attack was snuffed out. Two penalties within the space of four minutes, both of which had seen the Black and Ambers march an extra 10 metres, saw the home side take a six-point lead.
On 15 minutes Keynsham were down to 14 men for 10 minutes when Jack Weston was mysteriously yellow-carded. Despite being a man light, they still managed the occasional threat to the home line.
With 30 minutes on the clock Tim Coghlan was forced to retire and Darren Uren took over at prop. Chew Valley cleared their line via a penalty towards the end of the half but Matt Clifton stole their throw-in. A cross-kick from Ollie Coneybeare was caught by winger Matt Carr and he touched down for a try.
Sam Challenger converted in fine fashion from wide out to give them a deserved half-time lead of one point.
Within three minutes of the second half, this lead was extended to four points from a Challenger penalty; this followed a burst by Weston through the heart of the home defence to force the field position.
This was cancelled out three minutes later by a third successful kick from the home side.
It was all Keynsham and the home side were only kept in the game by superb defensive kicking, both from in-play and penalties.
Then came the moment of ecstasy for the home supporters. A powerful catch and drive from a line-out saw the pack force their way through the previously impenetrable K defence for a try by the posts, duly converted, to make it 16-10.
Keynsham came back to camp on the Chew Valley line for the last five or six minutes. There was reset scrum after scrum after scrum on the five-metre line. No penalty was forthcoming until it was the home side that got the penalty reward. Kick to touch, line-out, back into touch, game lost, one losing bonus point.
The next game was a Bath Combination Cup game, under lights, on the Friday night, when Frome RFC were the visitors. On a foul night the local boys ran out convincing 48-10 winners. Despite the weather, they contrived some super backs play and were rewarded with five fine second-half tries.
The Cleve RFC game was switched to an away fixture, and the Black and Ambers stumbled to another loss, 19-13. They failed to take their opportunities in the first half and paid the penalty with the end result. They allowed themselves to be bullied by a team that on the day wanted victory more – these things happen.
The final game in this report was another away loss, this time to Crediton RFC and without the losing bonus point. The lads travelled to North Devon and found the ground in great condition, and the game was played in splendid weather - sunshine and very little breeze.
Both sides showed every willingness to produce open, flowing rugby and the pace seldom dropped, ensuring that the large crowd were entertained throughout.
That said, the quality of the game did not match the intentions. Both sides were guilty of over-elaboration and failure to retain possession and, consequently, neither team were able to build any pressure on the other.
Ten minutes into the game, two successive off-side penalties gave Ollie Conybeare a chance of a pop at goal, which he gratefully accepted to take the lead.
But by this stage, the Keynsham scrum was already showing signs of creaking and the seeds had been sown for what was to be a torrid afternoon’s set-pieces.
Dan Moody retired with a blood injury on the 30-minute mark and was substituted by Josh Clayfield. By the time he returned at the start of the second half, Crediton had edged three points clear courtesy of two fine penalties from their No 10.
Keynsham started the second half looking like a totally re-galvanised side and were soon within striking distance of the line. However, a driving maul was turned over and play returned far upfield.
With 10 minutes gone, Cieran Chester intercepted on his own 10-metre line and shot off. He was clobbered by the cover tackler but, three phases later, right wing Marlon Dropsy scored in the corner to edge Keynsham in front; Conybeare’s conversion missed.
Shortly thereafter Jake Warren and Kieran Etheridge replaced Ash Linton and Sam Crabbe.
Crediton regained the lead through a super try from their scrum-half, unconverted, and minutes later a well-hit penalty from Conybeare hit the upright and bounced back.
This proved to be their last chance and, to add to their woes, they failed to hang on to a losing bonus point thanks to a drop goal and penalty from their stand-off half. Final score 17-8.
There’s only one home game for the first XV in December and that’s against Thornbury on the 14th.