An away match to second-placed Keynsham was a big ask after last week’s disappointment against Bristol Harlequins. However, the Wellington youngsters showed true grit and dogged bloody-mindedness as they dug deep and by the end were a little disappointed not to have come away with a win.
Playing into a gusty wind that was blowing diagonally across the pitch Wellington struggled to get their hands on the ball as Keynsham showed why they are in second place. Their physical pack drove the Welly eight back in both the scrum and mauls. Jack Woodland was an early casualty suffering a nasty facial injury at one breakdown.
To their credit the visitors battled hard with Harry Tredwin in particular having to work his socks off against his opposite number Tim Coghlan who has recently captained the Royal Air Force.
After fifteen minutes the pressure told and after a series of five metre scrums ex Wellington player Hayden Johnson, playing eight for the hosts touched down.
Gradually Wellington started to get a foothold in the match, and Will Brewer broke through the middle of a ruck and made it to the twenty two metre line before he was hauled down. The ball was quickly recycled and Tom Hawkings came on a nice line to score wide out.
There followed what was, a pivotal point in the game. Keynsham went back to their driving game, and pinned Wellington on their five metre line. Despite the hosts greater experience and physicality, the Wellington front row of Tredwin, Joe Dyke and Anthony Gill, kept battling away to hold out repeated five metre scrums. When they did finally push Welly back over their own line, Brewer bravely dived in amongst the host packs feet to touch down before Johnson could drop on it.
From the resulting twenty two drop out Wellington managed to break out, and Keynsham were never able to use the scrum to such effect again.
Half time came with the score at five all. The opening minutes of the second half saw the visitors infringe at the breakdown right in front of their own posts. Sam Challenger stepped up to give the home side a three point lead.
From here on in Wellington controlled most aspects of the game, but were unable to add to their score as a couple of penalties drifted either side of the posts in the tricky wind.
With ten minutes left the home side lost their hooker to a red card for illegal use of the boot. Matt Parsons slotted the resulting penalty to tie the scores.
With three minutes to go Wellington were pressing deep inside the home sides twenty-two again, but a lack of composure saw them kick away possession and the chance went begging.
With hindsight Wellington may be a little disappointed not to win but they can take great heart from this performance. The two Georges; Hodgson and Hooper looked totally solid in defence and dangerous with the ball and Ryan Forgeron slotted in nicely on his 1st XV debut.
There is no game at the moment next week, although the 2nd xv are trying to re-arrange their cancelled game against Chard.