Crucial wins keep Chipping Sodbury in top 4
Two impressive away wins have helped Chipping Sodbury keep up the pace at the top end of the Gloucester Premier League.
Sodbury played Cheltenham Saracens on 20th February in testing wet and very windy conditions. It was a vital league game as Saracens are immediately below Sodbury in the league table and the win helped Chipping Sodbury in their quest to use their games in hand to catch and overtake Berry Hill and Cirencester who lie in 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
A try each from Dan Bradley and Joe Horton plus two penalties from Bradley resulted in a well earned, hard fought 18-5 victory over Saracens, with Sodbury doing well to deny the Cheltenham team a bonus losing point.
In the first match in February, Sodbury showed all the hallmarks of a team lacking game time, evident during the first half hour of their 29-8 win at Bream. Their set piece however was functioning well and Sods were able to apply pressure playing almost exclusively in the Bream half.
Dan Bradley settled the away teams nerves with a 30 metre penalty before Phil Player set about almost single handedly improving the score. When a lineout drive from 5 metres was held up over the line the resulted in a surge from the front five that allowed Player an armchair ride as the Sodbury pack splintered the Bream eight. Bradley kicked the extras to make it 10-0.
5 minutes later Lee Ralph was set free from a back peel move from a lineout 20 metres out. He advanced but was brought down just five metres from the line. The pack produced quick ball finding Player in support. Player’s pace and power split the defence and the resulting try was a formality that Bradley converted.
A yellow card shown to Sodbury’s Tom Cawston and just a minute later a red for one of Bream’s props for punching Luke Balentine-Smith resulted in the following scrums going largely uncontested, frustrating Sodbury and taking away a vital attacking weapon.
During a penalty-heavy half Sods opted to kick one for a lineout and just 5 metres out the pack set up the drive. With the ball skilfully worked into the considerable arms of Player and the club chairman surged over to complete a hat-trick.
Bream found some cohesion and managed to score in what seemed to be their favourite corner of the ground which was churned up and muddy.
With the game in its death throes and Sodbury yet to secure a bonus point they tapped a penalty inside their own half and an exciting move saw Tom Farthing crashing over for a try that heralded a return to form after a long injury lay off. Bradley converted, making 4 out of 5 goals kicked in tricky conditions.