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Keynsham 19, BARFC 23 (17/02/18)

| 19/02/2018

Bridgwater and Albion moved up to sixth place in the South West One (West) table after winning a hard fought and keenly contested game at Keynsham on Saturday afternoon.

After being narrowly defeated in their last three fixtures the Albion got back to winning ways, but they were made to work hard in a game that could have gone either way right up until the final whistle.

Keynsham were quickly into their stride and created pressure from the kick off. The hosts were rewarded after eight minutes when Oakley Goodland broke down the left and scored an unconverted try in the corner.

Albion responded strongly and three minutes later opened their account when Stuart Heal slotted home a long-range penalty. The visitors were very much in the ascendancy at this stage and shortly afterwards took the lead when following a surging break by Number 8 Brad Talbot skipper Ollie Dunn ran to the line to score a try which Heal converted.

The visitors mounted further attacking moves and looked likely to extend their lead, until in the 22nd minute a fleet footed John Pearce intercepted a pass deep in his own half and sprinted almost the full length of the pitch for a try that full back Sam Challenger converted to put Keynsham back in the lead at 12-10.

This breakaway try put Albion onto the back foot and five minutes later a rejuvenated Keynsham added a further try when Dan Moody scored between the posts which Challenger converted.

Albion were reduced to 14 men when Arron Kelly was yellow carded for a high tackle, but just before the break despite being a player down the visitors were awarded a penalty for not retreating which Heal kicked to make the score 19-13 at the interval.

Bridgwater started strongly after half time and looked to have scored a try but the referee deemed that the ball had been held up.

The visitors grew in confidence as the game went on, kept coming forward and edged themselves closer to victory when 10 minutes later Heal kicked a penalty, awarded for offside.

Keynsham were far from done however and mounted several attacking moves each of which was repelled by the Bridgwater defence.

Both Kyran Devitt and Rob Gurnett produced good individual breaks but neither was quite able to make it to the line.

Albion continued to press hard and eventually got their reward when following a quickly taken penalty Talbot ran over the line to score a try from close range which Heal converted.

In the dying minutes of the game Keynsham had Tim Coghlan sent off for foul play but despite the best efforts of both sides there was no further score and game ended in a 23-19 victory for Albion.

This was a really spirited performance from an Albion side who were cheered on by a large number of travelling supporters, and showed great character in fighting back from being behind at half time.

BARFC- Matt Ranson, Sam Adcock, Craig Blyde, Ethan Trebble-Westlake, Arron Kelly, Ollie Dunn (capt), George Sluman, Brad Talbot, Tom Fournier d’Able, Stuart Heal, Kyran Devitt, Lewis Plece, Jay Owens, Jon Hill and Rob Gurnett.

Replacements not used- Adrian Tew, Garryn Basson and Nik Bradley

After the game Director of Rugby Geoff Sluman said: “We are really pleased with the result against Keynsham, who were a very determined side on their own pitch.

“The Albion lads that played put in a very big shift and it took tremendous effort to see the game out.  We defended well, took our opportunities when they came and played with a lot of spirit and cohesion.”

Sluman went on: “This result puts us up to sixth in the league but the cluster of teams around us is very tight. There is still a lot to play for but the league appears to be sorting itself out; the top two look like being the top two and the bottom three or four look like remaining there. We are not in either group so will take the opportunity to further develop the wider group of players over the rest of the season.”

This Saturday the Albion face Hornets in the semi-finals of the Somerset Cup, at Weston super Mare RFC kick off 2pm.

Hornets are in the league above so Albion can expect another tough match against a side that is likely to contain some of their former players.

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Category: Previews / Reports -XV

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