Devizes RFC 1st 14 - 12 Frome RFC 1st
Frome RFC 1st lose out narrowly in tight battle on the road...
After securing two wins on the bounce against Yeovil and Blandford the Frome RFC 1st XV were in high spirits, but were well aware of the upcoming tough battle away against Devizes RFC 1st.
Frome RFC 1st made the short trip into Wiltshire to face Devizes RFC 1st on Saturday and from the outset is was evident that the two sides looked to be eaually matched with large portions of the game being played in the centre of the field. Frome had he opportunity to go ahead in the opening minutes following a penalt but the kick fell wide and Devizes were able to clear there lines.
The battled continued upfront with Devizes using there agile big pack to good effect, after sustained pressure inside Frome's 22 the Devizes FlyHalf took the ball to the defesive line and offloaded back inside for the Devizes Flanker to crash over, the extras were added. (7-0)
Frome continued to build on the pocession and were awarded a penalty just outside off the opposition 22, this time the call came from the sideline to kick for touch and have the lineout. This proved to be the right call as the lineout was collected safely and the Frome pack pressed forward, After a patient set of plays it was Second Row Phil Meenan who sniped from the base of a ruck to crash over the line, Fly Half Matt King was able to add the extras. (7-7)
The remaining minutes of the first were well contested and with Devizes edging towards the Frome line, the Frome defence held firm and kept them at bay and were awarded a penalty and cleared there lines.
Half Time: Devizes RFC 1st 7 - 7 Frome RFC 1st
Following halftime talk it was now Frome who would play up the slight slope and aim to take control of he game, Frome were able to build plays with strong carries from Hooker Will Button & Prop Aaron Blaney, No.8 Alex Mallon also continued to be a nuisance making multiple yards from the back of the scrums.
Flanker Ross Toten had a stand out moment when at a lineout was able to take a loose ball and made his way untouched for 20metres, this allowed Frome good field position and kept here patince within the Devizes 22. With Frome being awarded advantage at the breakdown following some good interplay between Cameron Hastie and Geoff Taylor, Fly Half Matt King kicked a perfectly weighted kick to the opposite corner of the field which Winger Matt Warnock collected and stepped on the outside of his opposite man to cross over in the corner, unfortunatly the angle was too tight for FlyHalf King to slot over . (7 -12)
Centres Mike Rutt and Calum Bonallo continued to work well in both attack and defence with Bonallo bringing down any outside attacks from Devizes and Rutt continuing to run hard carries breaking the line.
With less the 10 minutes to go Devizes didn't leg up and used the slight slope to there advantage with the Fly Half commanding the game, a missed clearance kick from Frome was regathered a moved quickly across the backline and with a scrambling defence from Frome the Devizes Second Row was able to break the line and crash over, the Fly Half steadily slotted the kick. (14 - 12)
Frome were shortly awarded a penalty and kicked for touch, the lineout was knocked down with the referee deeming a knock by Frome, Devizes had the Scrum and with no time on the clock were able to kick to touch and the final whistle was blown. The Frome RFC man of the match was awarded to James Howard after coming off the bench early on and having a stand out game.
Final Score: Devizes RFC 1st 14 - 12 Frome RFC 1st
Frome RFC Head Coach Toby Culff commented "Having been ahead with just a few minutes to play, we're naturally very disappointed with the result. In truth, however, Devizes were the better side and heir narrow victory was an accurate representation of the game. They were quicker, stronger and more direct, and caused us lots of problems. We were unable to compete with them physically, both with and without the ball, and we lacked our normal bite. That said, it says a lot about our improving team that we stayed in the game, and nearly won it, despite not playing well. Our away form must and will improve".
With no League fixtures this Saturday Frome now have plenty of time to regather on the training paddock and prepare before they welcome newcomers to the League Swindon a College Old Boys RFC 1st on Saturday 21st October. A tough game is certainly on the cards with Frome sitting just one place above the Wiltshire side.