A LARGE crowd gathered at The Mannings to watch Drybrook get the season off to a bonus point winning start against Swindon.

Such were the numbers, we had the problem of someone placing towels over the stand seats to reserve the best spot writes Chris Tingle.

Apparently Richard Gaye has some Germanic blood in his ancestry and when questioned about his actions he admitted to being up in the stands at 5:30 that morning and putting his towels out. He has been told that this is not acceptable and he must curtail his actions until his holiday in early December at Barry Island.

The big Swindon team kicked off towards the clubhouse and claimed first possession of the ball.

They immediately put the home team under pressure and Drybrook were forced into conceding a couple of penalties, which Swindon used to get to within five metres of the line.

A well-executed catch-and-drive saw them open the scoring which gave them the confidence to continue their attacking rugby.

Drybrook were on the back foot for the opening 25 minutes and looked a shadow of the team during pre-season.

They were forced to defend their line desperately and only some solid defensive efforts led by Danny Price and Bailey Watts kept the visitors at bay.

The urgency and accuracy seemed to be lacking from their performance and they needed something to give them a lift.

This came in the form of their scrummage where they totally dominated their bigger opponents.

This weapon gave them the platform to attack and led by captain Mitch Bourne, breaking from eight, they started to take the game to the opposition.

On the half hour mark a fine break from the Drybrook back line saw the ball chipped through the defence for winger Rhys Gardner to latch onto and cross the Swindon line for Drybrook’s opening try of the season.

Callum Daly cooly slotted the conversion and the home team had at last woken up and started to play the style of rugby we have been accustomed to seeing at the Mannings.

Five minutes later they extended their lead with a fine try which started deep in their own half and ended with live-wire scrum-half Max Cornford scoring.

Daly was again accurate with the boot and the home team led 14-5 at the break.

The second half began and the home team carried on where they had left off.

A good break from Will Greenway took play to the Swindon line and Louis Morgan, playing his first game in Drybrook colours, showed his strength by barging over the line.

Daly once again converted and the home crowd were looking forward to a relaxing afternoon as Drybrook moved into a 21-5 lead.

Swindon however were in no mood to lay down and die and from the re-start they scored their best try of the afternoon.

A miss move out behind created the space for their impressive outside centre to carve his way through for a well taken converted score.

Drybrook though soon put any hopes of an opposition comeback to rest when the other half of the Morgans double act, Casey, broke blind for a fine individual try. Daly duly added the extras and Drybrook secured the try bonus point and led by 28-12.

The home team were now in full flow and 28 soon became 35 after another good move out behind. Morgan Davies used his pace to beat his opposite number before unleashing Rhys Gardner who glided in for his second try of the afternoon.

Drybrook having played some great rugby were then dealt a blow as they lost influential second row Will Greenway to the sin bin for what looked to be an innocuous challenge for the ball in the air.

Swindon who had been rather overwhelmed until this point took advantage of the extra man and scored a converted try to bring their tally to 19 points.

With the game now in the final ten minutes Drybrook again asserted their dominance in the scrum and after a series of set pieces on the opposition line the ref had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try as the Swindon pack crumpled while in retreat.

To their credit though rather than just accept defeat the Swindon team showed their metal by putting together a good attack which resulted in a penalty try of their own as the defender was adjudged to have taken his opposite player out with a high tackle.

Drybrook will be pleased to have got off to a winning start, but will know they have to up their game against the better sides in this league if they are to remain successful.

The debutants all played well, but special mention must go to the Morgan brothers who both shone in their first game in the famous green shirt. Mitch Bourne put in another big shift and Rhys Gardner is looking sharp and shared the sponsor’s player of the match award with Bourne.

On Saturday Drybrook take on Thornbury in what is sure to be a physical encounter.

Drybrook: Dean Jelf, Mikey Addis, Mitch Hale, Jordan Taylor, Will Greenway, Bailey Watts, Sam Peaper, Mitch Bourne (capt), Max Cornford, Callum Daly, Luke Roberts, Morgan Davies, Rhys Gardner, Sonny Greenman. Replacements: Louis Morgan, Casey Morgan, Sam Morton-Smith.