Chipping Sodbury return to form in cup

November 09 2016

After consecutive defeats in the league, Chipping Sodbury returned to form in the cup against St Mary’s Old Boys.

George Barnes

After consecutive defeats in the league, Chipping Sodbury returned to form in the cup against St Mary’s Old Boys.
The opening exchanges of the game saw Sodbury working hard to get into St Mary’s half only to give away penalties which were kicked straight back at them.
The Sods had Captain Pete Butcher in the line out, picking off St Mary’s throw at will. One stolen ball was whipped out to Dan Bradley at fly half who regularly cleared 50 metres giving Sodbury valuable breathing space.
A feature of Bradley’s game is punishing poor kicks from the opposition and he earned a chance after 12 minutes, setting off from a central position 60 metres out from St Mary’s try line and swerving his way through 40 metres of traffic. The ball eventually went into touch 10 metres short but at the back, with his big hands on the ball, steering the ship, was Luke Balentine-Smith and as the try line approached he surged over to score the try. Bradley easily converted and the Sods were on their way.
Just 5 minutes later the visitors lost a man to a yellow card. Touch was found from the resultant penalty. Another driving maul set up which was stopped illegally. From the melee Butcher rose to his feet with the ball in hand, tapped and went by himself. His superior strength saw him crash through the scrambling defence and he stretched out with his hand for a try. It was a tougher conversion but Bradley made it look simple as he knocked the ball between the posts.
Sodbury stayed in St Mary’s half for the next 15 minutes but couldn’t score and after a long injury break St Mary’s caught Sodbury cold. They worked hard for field position and pulled Sodbury right then left until they found a gap to scoot in beneath the posts.
Only minutes into the second half Matt Cook saw yellow. In open play St Mary’s were able to build phases and territory but their scrum was starting to creak. Replacement Lee Ralph, whose recovery from a gym accident is well ahead of schedule, along with the Sodbury pack were becoming too much for St Mary’s to handle. Sodbury buckled a 5 metre St Mary’s scrum to force a put in of their own. The ball came sweetly back and was moved blind and just two passes and a dive from fleet-footed wing Ben Taylor resulted in the try that opened up an unassailable lead.
The remainder of the game was played out between the 22’s with neither side able to trouble the try line. The final points came from the educated boot of Bradley with a 35m effort warmly applauded as Sodbury go forward to the Gloucester final against Berry Hill.
Final Score: Chipping Sodbury 1st XV – 22 St. Mary’s Old Boys 1st XV – 7