Bournemouth outgunned up front.
Bournemouth 18/6p v 22/3t2cp Redingensians. HT:
12/4p v 10/tcp.
Fine and sunny with a fresh Westerly wind which eased as the game progressed.
The ground was firm despite overnight rain.
Redingensians (Guy Swadling) kicked off from right to left as viewed from the
stand and to his right.
Full back Karim Lynch was still unvailable and Robbie Searle continued in his place. Ben
Stewart who ‘came on’ last week continued as right wing. Dan Connolly was detained
overnight at a funeral and ‘Eddie’ Edwards took his place at outside centre. Robert Bruce,
after a late fitness test came in for the injured Scott Chislett at inside centre. Dan Cawley
continued in place of the injured Frazer Wilford at hooker but Jack Hennings took over
from Chris Hughes as blindside flanker. Although Bournemouth had an early success through the boot of Dan Pollard,
it was clear from those early exchanges Bournemouth were in for a hard
afternoon. Sure enough, after having done well to clear their lines after a kick
deep into their own half, Redingensians drove from a line-out on Bournemouth’s
10m line before moving the ball left. In midfield Bournemouth conceded a penalty and
full back Guy Swadling kicked the goal from just outside the 22m line and into the strong
wind to tie up the scores at 3-all after nine minutes. The same player might have gained
the lead for his side three minutes later when a kick from a much more ambitious distance
fell short for Dan Pollard to clear to his left. Lock Callum Forrest managed to ‘nick’ the
ball at the resulting line-out and set up a forward drive which the Rams were penalized
for trying to stop. Bournemouth attacked right from the line-out but lost it. As the Rams
countered going to their right the pass was forward. When Bournemouth were penalized
for not ‘rolling away’, Swadling’s kick was returned by Sam Hardcastle. As the Rams ran
it back they lost the ball to Jack Hennings who released ‘Eddie’ Edwards. His long kick
right was chased down by himself and full back Robbie Searle and the two of them forced
Swadling into touch on Bournemouth’s right. At the line-out Bournemouth were awarded
a scrum but No 8 Gavin Hart’s attempt to flick the ball back to Hardcastle went over the
scrum-half’s head but in the ensuing scramble for the ball the Rams were penalized for
coming in at the side and from some thirty-five metres Pollard kicked his side back into
the lead at 6-3. The Rams recovered the ball at the restart down the right but as they
attacked back left good midfield defence by Edwards and Dunkerley induced the knockon
for a Bournemouth scrum. Bournemouth won a free kick at the scrum as the Rams’sfront row were ‘boring in’. They went left and Searle chipped forward for a Rams line-out
on their own 10m line. As they attacked left, centre Mark Odejobi burst through the first
tackle and chipped. With the Bournemouth defence breached, the dangerous No 8 Robbie
Stapley was on hand to establish a new Redingensians’s club record of scoring nineteen
tries in a season, Swadling added the two points and the Rams were leading 10-6 with
quarter of the game gone. However, right from the restart the Rams were penalized
and Pollard reduced the arrears with another fine kick. With play being disrupted by a
number of stoppages for players to receive attention, referee Carl Bennett had a word
with Redingensians after they yielded yet another penalty. It was from one such penalty
that Hardcastle’s long kick deep into the Rams’s 22m was ‘marked’ by the Rams defender,
The chasing Hardcastle clearly uncertain of the validity of the mark hesitated from tackling
the player but it was ‘allowed’ by the referee for the defender to clear right. The Rams
were penalized at the subsequent line-out and Hardcastle took a ‘quick one’ and went
right, Searle and Hennings linked but a promising move came to a halt with a knock-on.
Stapley broke dangerously off the back of the scrum but Bournemouth did well to ‘turn
the ball over’ and even better won another penalty at the scrum. Pollard from outside the
Rams 10m line kicked another goal to restore the hosts’s lead at 12-10 with less than
five minutes of the half to go. Fly-half Shaun Brown managed to kick the restart straight
out, a remarkable achievement into that wind, for a Bournemouth scrum back. The hosts
managed to mess it up at the back of the scrum but the Rams were penalized yet again
and Searle cleared left. The half ended with Bournemouth attacking still unable to cross
the line but held a narrow advantage.Brown from the restart, taking full advantage of the wind, promptly pushed Bournemouth back to their own 5m line. Bournemouth were forced to desperately defend as Redingensians attacked right but disaster struck when Redingensians pushed a clearly struggling scrum backwards and loosehead Riad Lynch was badly injured as he went down as the scrum went over him. He was stretchered off to be taken away by ambulance and to be replaced by Jo Burns. After a stoppage of some six minutes or more, the Rams, sensing an advantage, took a series of scrums when Bournemouth were penalized and eventually gained their reward when prop James Baker managed to squeeze over on the right-hand touchline despite the efforts of the Bournemouth defence. Swadling failed to convert but the Rams had regained the lead at 15-12. Soon after Chris Hughes replaced lock Tim Seward but Bournemouth again found themselves defending a 5m line-out. The Rams drove for the line but again Robbie Stapley proved irresistible and the record-breaking No 8 scored again. Swadling with an excellent kick from near the touch line added the two points and the Rams were two scores ahead. Jack Hennings was forced to retire at this point to be replaced by Frazer Wilford. He went to hooker in place of Dan Cawley who went to the not all too unfamiliar position of flanker. Bournemouth began to fight back and the second of two successive penalties meant hooker Chris Rowland was ‘yellow carded’ for a cynical tackle on Hardcastle as the dangerous scrum-half quickly took the second. The pressure told with yet another penalty and Pollard kicked his fifth goal to reduce the arrears to seven at 15-22 with more than a quarter of an hour to go. With Bournemouth trying their damnedest to score the Rams did everything to stop them and the big lock Mike Turner paid the price for his illegal efforts by being shown a yellow card. Pollard raised the stakes with another fine goal and Bournemouth were just four points adrift at 18-22 with still more than ten minutes left. By now we were into injury time added on by Bennett and the excitement grew as Bournemouth were urged on by the home crowd. However, despite some promising break outs, fly-half Brown, despite his side on the attack at this stage and perhaps missing an opportunity to score a bonus-point try took the expedient option and unceremoniously whacked the ball sideways deep into the training area to kill off any hopes of Bournemouth snatching a late victory.So a typically close-fought contest between these two sides ended in disappointment for the home side. Coincidentally Redingensians were the last side against whom we failed to score a try when we lost 9-13 in the opening game of last season. They are also the first side to beat us at home since Hartpury ‘did a job’ on us this same Saturday last March. We found it hard to match the Redingensians’s forwards up front and it is difficult going backwards. The number of penalties the ever reliable Pollard kicked also told its own story as the Rams did everything they could to stop us but we didn’t find the necessary penetration to cross the line when just one would have done!
We were delighted to be able to welcome RFU President ‘Willie’ Wildash to the game accompanied by Dorset & Wilts President John Palmer, secretary Nick Dark, RFU Council Representative Ron Jones and Competitions Secretary John Constable. At lunch, John Palmer presented the club with a team photograph of the County side at Twickenham that successfully defended the County Shield last May in recognition of the support Bournemouth gave the Twin Counties in the county championship campaign.