Sodbury in 4th after tough March
Chipping Sodbury endured a torrid March, winning just one out of four and loosing ground on the top three in the Gloucester Premier League. Their emphatic 40-0 win over struggling local rivals Frampton Cotterell came after loosing to North Bristol, a 50-0 mauling at high flyers Cirencester and a closer defeat to Berry Hill.
Chipping Sodbury 1st XV – 17 Berry Hill 1st XV – 24
With Sodbury’s headline-making fly half and star performer Dan Bradley struck down with pneumonia and taken to hospital the team called upon the vast experience of Steve Romanowski.
And it wasn’t long before Romanowski made his presence felt, converting an early penalty following a Maximus Gallagher interception and 35 metre break deep into the visitor’s half. The 3-0 lead evaporated quickly when Berry Hill surprised everyone when their flanker jumped over a ruck and burst free for an unconverted try.
Romanoski was called into points scoring action again when Sods built enough pressure to force another penalty to retake the lead 6-5. On the cusp of half time, line-out virtuoso Matt Cook yielded three more points with what was arguably the move of the half. Securing a line-out 40 metres out, man of the match Cook found Lee Ralph on a rampaging run. Ralph was supported by Dave Guest who secured quick ball passing through two rucks and a maul before Berry Hill infringed, allowing Romanowski to kick his third penalty.
Romanowski took the score to 12 -5 early in the second half as Sodbury began to stretch their legs out wide. Berry Hill levelled the game after 15 minutes following a series of Sodbury penalties that they opted to kick for touch or scrummage. Berry Hill scored after the third scrum.
Sodbury showed their strength of character and negotiated their way back up field to within striking distance of Berry Hill’s try line. When Hill infringed Sods elected to kick for touch. Guest was at his accurate best at the lineout and found his jumper easily. The ensuing drive was controlled from the back by Pete Butcher who wrestled the ball from the back of the maul to score a try.
Hill came back with a carbon copy of their previous try to tie the game 17-all with just 10 minutes remaining. They might also have scored a long-range effort had it not been for a last-ditch try-saving tackle by Ralph.
Hill were able to turn the screw in the last minute and ultimately broke Sodbury hearts when they moved the ball from yet another 5 metre scrum and after six phases went in next to the posts.
Photo: Steve Romanowski kicking one of his four penalties in the match.
Credit Jeff Gendall Photography