Old Reds cruise to victory, but miss out on a valuable try bonus point
OLD Reds boosted their hopes of securing automatic promotion straight back to the national leagues with a commanding 25-3 home defeat of rivals North Petherton in South West One West.
While there was delight at the way in which Reds completed a notable double over North, there was disappointment at the failure to secure a try bonus point which could yet prove to be crucial in the final analysis.
There's no doubt, however, that prior to kick-off Reds would have settled for this victory which featured tries from Jack Steer, player-coach Saul Nelson and winger Joe Woodward.
Steer, starting at fly-half for Mike Schropfer, landed all three conversions and two penalties.
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Reds now face a testing trip down the M5 on Saturday to Clevedon, who broke a run of two successive defeats with a 25-18 triumph at Cleve.
There were five-pointers from Joe Trudgian, Mike Winter, Oscar James and Dan Isaacs with Mike Lowis booting a penalty and Harry Knowles one conversion.
For Cleve, who have now lost five in a row and slipped to tenth, prop Steve Bush, Luke Buckingham and Shak Ajuwa touched down.
Thornbury conceded an injury-time last-play penalty to go down 15-14 in a home clash switched to the Old Grammar School because of conditions at Rockhampton.
Ashley Honeywell's kick clinched the points after Thorns had earlier battled back from trailing 12-0 with tries from Rich Bennett and Jon Day, both converted by Tim Stephens.
In National Three South West, Weston-super-Mare romped to a 40-0 home defeat of Old Pats, running in tries from Harry Jones, James McKay, Paul Sprague, Ashley Russell, Phil Hobbs and Chris Young, McKay adding five conversions.
Avonmouth, meanwhile, pushed title favourites London Irish hard before succumbing 29-11 at Barracks Lane.
Two Joe Wearne penalties and a Charlie Reynolds try handed Avonmouth an 11-8 half-time lead before the visitors pulled clear.
Next up for holders Avonmouth is a trip to Dings Crusaders on Saturday for a Charles Saunders Combination Cup semi-final ahead of two crucial league games; away to bottom side Maidenhead followed by a home clash with fellow relegation battlers Malvern.
In Western Counties North, Barton Hill cruised to a 53-0 home win over Yatton. Miles Fineman marked his debut at centre with two tries, while there were also doubles from fellow midfielder Dean Payne and full-back Dominic Grey.
Hooker Joe Dorrington, lock Shane Hancock and Ross Baker added futher tries with Ollie Nowell kicking four conversions.
North Bristol lost more ground in the promotion race with a 29-23 setback at Cirencester after leading 23-7 at the turnaround.
Jonny Gait and Dan Snow both crossed twice with Snow slotting the two conversions and three penalties before Ciren launched a stirring fight back.