Job done for Lydney as win seals promotion
STARTING the afternoon any one of three teams could win the league, Lydney in third place would need other results to go their way to gain top spot, writes Roger Pike.
However with Chew Valley the leaders away at local rivals Thornbury and the St Austell playing Devonport, anything was possible.
For the Severnsiders, securing the win was the first hurdle to ensure their own promotion place but a local derby at Old Patesians is never easy.
Lydney did not disappoint and carried on recent good form to win quite comfortably but it was not one of their best displays and the hosts made them work for the win.
The Severnsiders fielded virtually an unchanged side with Sam Arnott returning at scrum half and Tom Broady starting on the bench.
A strong side wind would make things difficult so filed position would be crucial and Lydney opted to start playing up the slope.
As expected the Severnsiders started much the brighter remaining around the 22m area in the opening encounters.
Numerous lineouts saw Lydney stopped short on a few occasions and a penalty was eventually awarded.
Sam Arnott took a quick tap but was tackled just a meter out but Harrison Fowke was on hand to pick up and crash over for 0-5 after just six minutes.
The game remained even from the restart but Old Pats did not look like breaking the defensive line.
The visitors were soon back on the attack with outside half Tony Wicks spinning the ball out whenever possible, a good backs move saw winger Brad Dunn run a great line in midfield to cross under the posts, Wicks added the extras for 0-12.
Old Pats then managed a try with a good move in their backline to get Fin Mellis in at the corner for 5-12.
This seemed to spark the visitors into life as a win was critical however they had a period of numerous mistakes to keep the hosts in the game.
Another backline move eventually saw Henry Sleeman beat the defensive cover but was brought down deep in the 22m area; the ball was recycled out to Dunn to score his second try for 5-17.
Old Pats, far from giving up, managed a second try through a number of forward drives when captain Damian Dinwiddy scored, Jack Parks added the extras to give a half time score of 12-17 and a serious team talk for the visitors was needed at the break.
Playing down the slope in the second half the Severnsiders were soon deep in the Old Pats half managing possession much better.
Another flowing backline move saw Dunn cut through the defence with a brilliant break, a deft offload to Olle Locke saw him touch down out wide at 12-22.
The hosts, although getting some possession, lacked ideas to break the defence, winning a penalty they opted to kick but Parks put the effort just wide.
With the hosts looking tired Lydney started to mount some attacks with good driving play, a rumble from Jack Spencer saw Arnott finally bring in the backs, Sleeman made the initial break through passing to Joe McClean who cut back to slice through the defence to score.
Wicks added the extras and the visitor’s promotion looked secure at 12 – 29.
Playing down the slope it was all Lydney now, unlucky not to score again following a good break from the impressive Harrison Fowke who was stopped just short.
Further drives from McClean, Scriven and Spencer were also stopped and a knock on eventually halted another score.
Lydney emptied their bench with big John Barker adding to the forward drives and Broady replacing Arnott at scrum half.
On the next attack Sleeman proved again too strong and broke clear passing it out to opposite winger Dunn for his third try of the afternoon converted for 12 – 36.
With the hosts now just trying to defend relentless attacks Joe McClean proved just too strong going straight through two tacklers to extend the lead out at 12 – 41.
The hosts did eventually mount another attack only to lose the ball deep on the Lydney 22m area.
The quick thinking Wicks seeing no one at home put in a huge wind assisted kick for Henry Sleeman to chase, with Sleeman out pacing the defence it was a simple pick up to touch down for 12 – 46.
Sleeman was unlucky not to score again in the closing minutes when brought down by a last ditch tackle and the game ended 12 – 46.
Unfortunately results did not go for the Severnsiders in the two other games to get top spot but the win guaranteed promotion and a super end to the season.
Head Coach Dave Emery commented: “Job done, we sealed the maximum 5 points to ensure promotion and the end of a really successful season.
“The performance was not great by our standards but a local derby always creates added pressure.
“Second half I thought we managed the game much better and scored some good tries.
“This is a talented group of lads with a great team spirit and we look forward to the bigger challenges ahead next season.”
Lydney: Jack Spencer, Harrison Fowke, James Pugh (c), Mike Massey , Jimmy Walter, Mars Slee, Riley Scriven, Luke Hudson, Sam Arnott, Tony Wicks, Henry Sleeman, Joe McClean, Olle Locke, Brad Dunn, Alex Nelmes. Replacements: Rob White, Tom Broady, John Barker.
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