Widden Old Boys Match Report
Frampton come from behind to secure hard fought win
Frampton welcomed Widden Old Boys to the Stade de Fram on Saturday afternoon. Frampton were looking to complete a double and to maintain their unbeaten home record. After a bright start to the season, Widden’s form had fallen away, with their last win being at the beginning of December. Nonetheless, as is the case with any Gloucester side, Frampton were expecting a tough physical confrontation with Widden.
Playing away from Crossbow and into a slight breeze, Frampton were soon put under pressure by Widden who maintained possession and drove forward purposefully. It wasn’t long before Widden took the lead with a good unconverted try. Frampton were handicapped by having centre Joel Brasher-Jones sent to the sin bin for what was deemed to be a deliberate knock on. Despite being a man down, Frampton did manage to secure a lot of possession and pressed Widden hard. However, they couldn’t find a way through a resolute defence.
Widden also had a man sent to the sin bin following a high tackle in their own twenty two. Frampton continued to press, and were awarded a number of penalties. Unfortunately the lineout wasn’t functioning too well, so Frampton chose to scrum each time. The Widden defence continued to hold firm and Frampton remained scoreless. Perhaps, and with the benefit of hindsight, Frampton should have had a shot at goal instead.
On the stroke of half time, Widden broke upfield and were awarded a penalty in the centre of the pitch just inside the Frampton half. Widden chose to go for goal, and were successful with an excellent kick. The referee blew for half time with Widden leading 8 nil and being good value for their lead.
Stern words were needed at half time from coach Andy Jarrett. A change of tactics were definitely required to either try to go around the Widden defence using quick hands or to kick for position behind their defence. There had seemed to be no way through the Widden defence who were certainly not playing like a team on a long losing streak.
Frampton looked a much better side in the second half. Without ever actually cutting loose, they had the lion’s share of both territory and possession. Three good tries were scored through Callum Bleakman, Lewis Oakley and Morgan Stiles. Unfortunately Lewis Oakley had an off day and had clearly left his goal kicking boots at home. Lewis wasn’t able to convert any of the tries. Widden had also scored a converted try of their own which left the scores all square at 15 each.
Frampton were given a big scare late on when Widden made their way downfield and were awarded a penalty in a relatively easy kicking position near the posts. Widden chose to kick for goal, but fortunately for Frampton the ball clattered into an upright. The ball was gathered by the defence and Frampton then made their way back up the field. The Widden defence looked to be holding firm, but finally gave out when Lewis Oakley picked and went from a ruck close to the line to score a good opportunistic try with several defenders hanging on to him. Lewis missed the conversion, but crucially Frampton were now in front and had picked up a try scoring bonus point. At half time this hadn’t looked very likely.
There was still time for Widden to kick off again. However, Frampton secured the ball and kicked it off the field to bring the match to an end for a very hard fought 20 – 15 victory. Widden probably deserved more from the game, but Frampton dug deep to dog out a win having not performed at their best for large parts of the game.
Rob Keir played very well at number 8 when he came on as a first half replacement, and Guy Palmer also had a good match playing out of position at wing forward. Centre Morgan Stiles was deservedly made Frampton’s man of the match after a very solid game. Morgan ran hard attacking lines and was a brick wall in defence.
There is no game next Saturday, but Frampton return to action on 2nd March when Gloucester Old Boys will be the visitors to the Stade de Fram.