Sods still riding high despite rare league defeat
Chipping Sodbury Rugby Club bounced back to winning at Longlevens in the Gloucester Premier league after just their second league defeat of the season, and first at home against Cirencester
Chipping Sodbury RFC 1st XV – 13 Cirencester 1st XV – 30
Sodbury RFC hosted Cirencester in another League and Cup double-header but despite all their efforts came up short. The Ridings was in the grip of strong winds created by Storm Desmond and both teams struggled with the blustery conditions, spending extended periods in their own 22s.
The Sodbury set piece worked well from the kick off, making the most of the early ground with any mistake seized upon by Cirencester. Sodbury were guilty of some poor defence as they slipped off tackles. Pulling the Sodbury defence left then right the visitors crafted an opening try into the wind from their own half.
The game then spent a long period between the 22’s with Jake Lewis, Joe Horton and Dan Bradley showing some great handling. Sodbury’s solitary try of the game started from a line-out on halfway with the drive and subsequent series of rucks down the centre leaving an opportunity for Bradley. He was tackled just beyond the gain line but managed to keep his hands free before popping the ball to his left to supporting hooker Dave Guest. Guest wasn’t quite at full speed but accelerated into the 22 and rounded the flailing fullback for a great try. His touchdown in the shadow of the posts made the conversion a formality.
Jason Petchey, Matt Cook and Steve Hopes stepped up in defence for Sodbury with some thunderous tackles as Cirencester roared back into their half. Guest excelled at a 5-metre scrum when Cirencester looked threatening, his hook against the head rendered them impotent and allowed a huge clearance kick.
Sodbury managed to keep Cirencester pinned in their own half as the break approached with the metronomic boot of Bradley easing a little daylight between the sides with two beautifully struck penalties. A controversial Cirencester try closed the gap. The crowd and touch judge thought the ball carrier had been tackled into touch but the referee overruled and awarded the score.
Sodbury spent much of the second half fighting to hold back the away side but found themselves falling short of what was required. Sods were missing touch and tackles but with ball in hand still managed to look dangerous. Unfortunately they didn’t have a 70-metre try in them despite keeping the ball for long periods. Their big men up front worked tirelessly with the charge led by captain Hopes supported by props Lee Ralph and Luke Balentine-Smith who were never too far away from ball-carrying duties.
Substitutes Max Gallagher and Marv Moorhouse applied themselves to the task superbly for the Sods, their fresh legs on the wing and back row seemed to help immeasurably. After a torrid third quarter Sodbury steadied the ship and stuck to their defensive patterns. Horton in particular stood out. The final kick of the game was a penalty from Cirencester but by then the contest was over.
Below: Dave Guest breaking through the Cirencester defence to score Sodbury’s only try of the game.
Credit: Jeff Gendall Photography