Old Patesians let early dominance slip in defeat to Redingensians Rams
Redingensians Rams 12
Old Patesians 6
Old Patesians failed to capitalise on their first-half dominance in the tight and loose and allowed Redingensians Rams to sneak a victory in National League Three South West, writes Bob Ellis.
Pats came away with a vital bonus point but if they had just improved the execution of their slick handling with a modicum of clinical finishing they could have wrapped up the game before half-time.
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The heavy Old Bath Road pitch suited the Pats scrum, where the front row of James King, Joe Shelton and Connor Thompson climbed into the faces of their heavyweight counterparts and takes against the head and feed were the order of the day.
Pats suffered an early reversal when centre Brett Turner took far too long to wind up a clearance kick and when it was charged down, Rams right wing Matt Grindle benefited from his mistake with a breakaway dash and try in the left-hand corner.
The Rams, lying fifth in the table, boasted one of the most parsimonious defensive regimes in the league with only two of the sides in the top four having a better record of points against, but Pats gave their all to find a breach in their impregnable stockade.
Pats fly-half Matt Dean gave his backs stacks of clean ball from the set pieces and at breakdown time.
But though the moves through hands gave wingers Will Kane and Lee Taylor space and time to operate in, they were stopped in their tracks before they could threaten the try-line.
Taylor, in particular, soon found out that his trademark goose step and feint did not deceive the Rams chasers and his darts were snuffed out before he got into his full stride.
Pats centre Stu Taylor was at his body-bashing best and when he clattered his opposing centre in a fiercesome midfield clash, Turner banged over a penalty goal after the tackled player failed to release the ball on the ground.
The visitors continued to boss the game with forwards James Stickland and Henry Tapsell grafting like Trojans to secure and retain possession.
They must have been disappointed to see scoring passes going to ground or taken when the intended receiver was stationary or had overrun the catching chance.
The Rams lost fly-half Guy Swadling to the sin bin for a high tackle and Turner punished his indiscretion with a penalty goal and Pats led 6-5 at half-time.
Lady Luck failed to smile on the Pats efforts when soon after the break Tapsell won turnover ball which somehow popped up from the tap, bounced off a Rams knee and was collected by their scrum-half Will Clark, who ran in unopposed for a try converted by Grindle.
The Pats forwards continued to grind away with a patient series of pick and drives on the Rams line, but their efforts were squandered with a fumble when the ball was released to the backs.
The game ended with Pats prop Thompson carded for a scrum infringement and a series of unsatisfactory uncontested scrums.
Redingensians Rams: C Rowland, T Owen (R Crame 54), J Baker, O Root, T Bryson, A Amor, C Emmett, O Randall (I Jeffreys 58), W Clark, G Swadling, J Smith, N Gumbleton, S Bryant, M Grindle, S Swadling. Unused replacement: R Aiono.
Old Patesians: J King, J Shelton (R White 70), C Thompson, N Riley, J Stickland (H Gunther 64), K Blankley, D Redbourne, H Tapsel, J Aherne, M Dean (J Butler 58), L Taylor, B Turner, S Taylor, W Kane, G Hughes.
Referee: D Mobley (Glos Society)
Man of the match: James Aherne