Western Counties North
North Bristol 18 Keynsham 43
PERHAPS it was three games in eight days took its toll on North Bristol, but this Western Counties North encounter ended disappointingly for them as they suffered their heaviest ever home league loss to Keynsham.
The visitors were workmanlike and took their chances whilst North often looked like a team that were struggling for consistency in their game plan and suffered for that reason.
However, the game started brightly for the home side as they gained an early edge in the scrum and looked combative around the fringes.
But there were ominous signs as Keynsham threatened down North’s left hand side and if it wasn’t for a superb try-saving tackle from Mike Ogbeta Keynsham would have scored their first try after six minutes.
They did start the afternoon’s scoring though with a penalty soon after.
North were straight back into the game with Chris Jelf stealing two consecutive Keynsham lineouts, and from one such snaffle Carl Smith raced down the right but his pass to Ogbeta was adjudged forward.
After 13 minutes though Keynsham did claim a try as they capitalised on a missed tackle down the left to score and lead 8-0.
A super break by Jim Hitchman, who also enjoyed a fine game in defence, set up a penalty for Dan Snow, playing in his 150th league game, and the winger slotted the kick after 27 minutes.
Keynsham then sealed their win with three further first half tries in the final 14 minutes to take a 29-3 lead into the break.
An early second half penalty from Snow gave North an early reward at 6-29 but further haphazard play saw Keynsham score two further converted tries to lead 43-6.
North Bristol had the better of the final 20 minutes as scrum half Steve Trimmel and Alex Featherstone both scored tries following good forward drives but by then the game had gone as Keynsham left Oaklands with the win.
North Bristol scorers: Tries - Alex Featherstone, Steve Trimmel; Conversions - Dan Snow; Penalties - Dan Snow (2).
North Bristol 2nds & 3rds 40 St Bernadettes 2nds 5
A LARGE mixed squad of North Bristol seconds and thirds hosted St Bernadette’s 14 men and shared their personnel throughout; making what could have been a one sided game into a fair one.
North’s game-plan had been to a strong pack but this changed in a matter of minutes, despite a damp pitch, to a free-flowing one, celebrated by a very early try from hooker Mark Sterry, whose support play was excellent. Dan Harris kicked the tricky conversion.
More recycling and fine handling produced a Harris-converted try for winger Mike Huntbach, giving North a 14-0 lead.
Ten minutes later superb timing in midfield produced a fantastic burst through the middle from speedster Steve Hudd, who scorched in for a touchdown, converted by Harris at 21-0.
The kick also took Harris to over 200 career points kicked for North Bristol.
Great support play and a fine interplay between Hudd and fullback Peter Swallow ended with the latter crossing for a try, drop converted by the nonchalant Harris, making the lead 28-0.
Ever-present flanker Matt Bowden’s industry was rewarded when he broke Saints’ hearts by robbing their attacking endeavour and galloping from his own 22 to score at the other end. Another Harris drop-con lifted North to 35-0.
North’s front-row were not to be denied their share of the limelight either as skipper Bez Reed fought his way over from close range to give North a 40-0 half-time lead.
As the game drew to a close Saints’ persistence was rewarded with a last-gasp try by Pete McCann from strong driving play though North finished worthy winners.
North Bristol scorers: Tries - Matt Bowden, Steve Hudd, Mike Huntbach, James Reed, Mark Sterry, Peter Swallow; Conversions - Dan Harris (5).