Four tries from Knight gives Frampton Cotterell an easy passage in to the final
FRAMPRON Cotterell marched into the final of the Bristol Junior Combination Plate, following a commanding display against Gordano at School Road.
Four tries by man-of-the-match Alex Knight, plus touchdowns from back-row trio Dan Harris, Ben Ransom and Zac Smith, underlined the home sides' dominance. Aaron Holman (2) and Lewis Chadwick added three conversions to put the seal on the victory.
The South Gloucestershire side have enjoyed moderate success this season, but they were issued with a challenge to emulate the achievement of previous Frampton junior sides from the recent past.
Backs coach and former club captain Mike Weaver said: "We appealed to the boys before the game to go out and create a bit of history for themselves. Some of our other junior teams have won trophies recently, and we challenged this group to write their own names in the clubs history books by making it through to a final.
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"The lads responded magnificently, and played with passion, skill and commitment, and as a result, have achieved what they set out to do. There were some big individual performances out there, but I thought we won it by playing well as a team."
Gordano looked as though they might be on the end of a cricket score, as the home side went about their business with ruthless efficiency. Flanker Smith barged over after 12 minutes for an unconverted try before the lethal finishing power of Knight became evident. The speedster received a pass deep in his own territory and scythed through several would-be tacklers on his way to the try-line. Chadwick missed the conversion, but landed the extras when Ransom, who was celebrating his 14th birthday, muscled over shortly after. Knight raced in for his second to give his side a 22-0 interval lead.
But the anticipated second-half avalanche of points didn't materialise, and Frampton were made to work hard for their victory, as Gordano rolled up their sleeves, and matched their counterparts in terms of determination and skill set. Ed Moss at fly-half, wing Alex Saxon and flanker Josh Connock, all showed what they could do when given an opportunity. Knight wrapped up his hat-trick with another long-range effort, before Gordano pulled a try back, with hard-working lock Will Maggs crashing over for an unconverted try. Frampton's Harris hit back with a barnstorming effort, that started from a turnover on the halfway line, before Knight claimed his fourth.
But the Somerset side, to their credit battled until the final whistle, and finished with a flourish, when first No 8 Tom Crause crashed over, before centre Alex Walder ran in from 80 metres for a memorable try.
Gordano coach Adam Baxter said: "The first half killed us. I felt a things went against us early in the game, and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb. But I was proud of the boys for the way they responded, and stuck at it. I think we finished the game with a lot of credit."
Teenager Alex Gardiner has taken the first tentative steps towards his goal of becoming the youngest ever Premiership referee.
Alex, 14, pictured, took charge of the Bristol Junior Combination Plate semi-final clash between Frampton Cotterell and Gordano on Sunday, and came through with flying colours.
The St Bede's School pupil said: "My dad Geoff is a referee, and I asked him if I could go along with him to one of the Bristol Society Referees meetings. I thought that having a better understanding of the laws would help me to become a better player.
"But a few of the senior officials at the society told me that there were great opportunities for young ambitious refs, so I thought I might as well at least see if I liked it, and decided to give it a go. This was my third game, and I'm getting more confident each time.
"I was a bit nervous at first, because it was a semi-final, but I think I did okay. My mentor Jack Russell has set me a target of referring an under-16s game by the end of the season, so I'm working towards that goal. But my main ambition is to be a full-time referee like Wayne Barnes, and regularly take charge of top level matches."