KINGSBRIDGE 16 points CLEVEDON 16
KINGSBRIDGE welcomed another new team to High House on Saturday, in the form of Clevedon, for Round 5 of this seasons South West One (West) league programme. Having picked up their first win of the season at Chard the previous week, Kingsbridge still knew that mid-table Clevedon would pose a serious threat.
It was the visitors who opened the scoring in the 9th minute as a loose ball in their back line saw their fly half make something from nothing with a shot at a drop goal, which sailed between the uprights to put them 0-3 ahead.
Play remained tight with Kingsbridge threatening for the first try deep in the Clevedon 22 before the ball went to ground with the try line beckoning. The hosts did however level the scores with a George Jones penalty on 24 minutes after the visitors were caught offside on the edge of their 22. Jones then put Kingsbridge ahead with another penalty from an almost identical position to take the score to 6-3. Back came Clevedon again however with a penalty of their own on the stroke of half time to leave things all square at 6-6 at the interval.
Early in the second half Clevedon took the lead with a penalty after Kingsbridge were caught offside just outside the 22, before the game took an unexpected turn. With Kingsbridge pressurising deep in the Clevedon 22 through their dominant forwards and playing an advantage for offside, the visitors were reduced to 14 men as one of their players was red carded for a punch right in front of the referee.
From the ensuing scrummage restart – which should have been a penalty restart – Kingsbridge took the visitors back towards their own line where one of their players kicked the ball out of the back of the Kingsbridge pack to leave the referee no choice other than to award a penalty try to the home side. George Jones added the simple conversion to put Kingsbridge ahead at 13-9.
The visitors then seemed to up their game as they fought to reduce the Kingsbridge lead. A strong period of play saw them move deep into the Kingsbridge 22 where a neat little chip and chase over the Kingsbridge defence saw a player collect the ball and touch down near the posts. The simple conversion put Clevedon back in the driving seat at 13-16.
Kingsbridge still looked like they had every chance of rescuing something from the game as they returned play to the Clevedon half. With five minutes remaining and with the hosts in attack near the 22 the visitors were once again caught offside right in from of their posts. The sensible option was to take the 3 points to level matters to secure an extra valuable league point for the draw and fly half Jones stepped up again to send the ball between the uprights to make it 16-16.
Kingsbridge faced a torrid final few minutes as the visitors launched one final onslaught on their 22 and it looked as if their defence had been breached only for the little ferret that is Ali Hamilton to put in a crucial tackle just short of the try line where Clevedon knocked on and the hosts were able to clear the threat.
This was another crucial 2 league points for Kingsbridge who are still adapting to life in the higher league. Huge credit to the home side who battled valiantly throughout.
KINGSBRIDGE A XV travelled to Topsham in the Devon Merit Table on Saturday with a below strength team due to a shortage of players. The club are grateful to Topsham for the loan of players to enable the game to go ahead – the true spirit of the Merit Table – rather than the game being cancelled.
For the record the hosts ran out winners 29-7 with the Kingsbridge points coming through a try from Colts full back Matt Moysey and a conversion from fly half Billy Burner.
This weekend sees the 1st XV travel to Drybrook in the league whilst the A XV will entertain Plymstock Albion Oaks II in the Devon Merit Table at High House at 3pm. Kingsbridge Colts welcome Torquay Colts to the Longfield Pitch with KO at 2.30pm.