Old B's pick off Keynsham with comfortable win
TWO interception tries in five minutes early in the second half helped newcomers Old Bristolians ease to a comfortable 40-13 defeat of Keynsham in Western Counties North.
The home side were establishing such a stranglehold on the game that Keynsham felt forced to chance their arm on the rare occasions the ball came their way in a hint of space.
But first centre Henry Bird pounced to pick off a speculative pass some 20 metres out, coasting in under the posts.
And soon after winger Miles Pakeman, on his debut, easily read another hopeful pass before flicking on the burners and racing in from 70 metres to wrap up the points with just 52 minutes gone.
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The foundations for both scores were laid in the first half as Old Bs' physically-imposing pack turned the screw to dominate, despite the best efforts of hard-working Keynsham No 8 Ben Newman.
And although the points were initially slow in coming, the home side were always in charge and were good value for a comprehensive win.
Skipper Mike Barton said: "I'm very happy with that. We're using a lot of lads who were in the seconds last season and we've got ourselves off to a good start in this league, but we need to keep it up."
Fly-half Jack Price nudged Old Bs ahead with an 11th-minute penalty but the first try of the afternoon went to Keynsham.
Home flanker Adam Waldron was yellow carded for an offence at the breakdown close to his own line and from a scrum soon after Keynsham made the extra man count with Newman muscling over. Price restored the lead with a second successful penalty, only for Ben Bolster to reply with a kick which made it 8-6 to the visitors on the half-hour. But that was as good as it got for Keynsham as a third Price penalty nudged Old Bs ahead while his side then ended the half with a morale-sapping try.
Full-back Brioche Hemmings fielded a loose clearance and made inroads before possession was recycled for lock Charlie Caton to eventually give a nicely timed and weighted pop pass to prop Nick Cussen who crashed over from close range, Price converting for a 16-8 lead.
The two converted interception tries saw Old Bs surge 30-8 clear before Price sliced through on the hour to clinch the bonus points, while turnover ball and some sweet handling then produced a five-pointer for Hemmings.
Keynsham pressed hard for a consolation claimed by winger James Horrell-Smith, but it came far too late to prevent a fifth successive setback for the visitors.
Coach Mike Jefferies said: "We've got a few issues at the moment with injuries and non-availabilities so we've been blooding a lot of youngsters and that's been a real positive.
"Training has been brilliant with anything from 40-50 lads every week and we're certainly fit enough, we just need something to kick start our season."
Barton Hill, meanwhile, took advantage of leaders Hornets' postponement at Avon to nab pole position with a tremendous 29-9 home win over Wells.
The Bristol side's pack were again in dominant form as Shane Hancock, Matt Rankin, Dominic Grey and replacement Lucca Sisacun claimed tries.
It was another good day, too, for North Bristol who moved up to second with their fifth successive win, this time downing Matson 15-10.
Josh Davies put North in front with a penalty while a catch-and-drive move then produced a try for Chris Underwood, Davies converting.
Matson pulled back a try before the break and levelled things up early in the second period, but Davies had the final word with an unconverted touchdown.
Yatton returned to the foot of the table after a 21-7 reverse at fellow strugglers Chosen Hill while tries from No 8 Richard Sheppard and prop Jim Russe-Jones could not save Bristol Harlequins from a 24-15 defeat at Cirencester.