RUGBY REPORT: Cirencester 1st XV 20 Chew Valley 1st XV 25
Their most disorganised display of the season to date could not prevent Western Counties League leaders Chew Valley from scraping a win at Cirencester on Saturday.
Bookies would have offered long odds back in September that Chew – newly promoted from Somerset Premier – would end the first half of the season in such a lofty position and with an unbeaten record.
But they have adapted well to life in the higher league and lead by one point from Matson, who have lost three matches so far but have made the most of their bonus-point opportunities.
Saturday’s match featured five yellow cards but, despite this, the refereeing of the breakdown meant there was little flow to the game and neither side managed to string many phases together.
There was an exception early on when home winger Seb Genillard crossed for a try but the conversion was missed and the absence of a reliable kicker meant Cirencester saw ten points go begging during the match.
Conversely Chew Valley’s man of the match, full-back Tom Bryan, bagged 20 points with the boot and four of those penalties came as the visitors scored with every visit to the home 22 playing up the hill in the first half.
Bryan’s unerring accuracy, in which he did not miss a kick all day, took him past 150 points for the season.
Cirencester drew level with a try early in the second half as their outstanding centre Luke Lester split the defence for scrum-half Gareth Parry to convert.
As Chew Valley pressed, there was another card for coming in at the side at a driving maul and the subsequent penalty was kicked to the corner. From the lineout, hooker Tristan Davies was at the back of the maul to dot down for Bryan to convert.
His two further penalties were enough to secure victory, despite his side’s defensive organisation going AWOL to allow Parry to scoot over after Davies was binned for being offside.
Chew Valley play their final league game on a historic 2013 on Saturday when they entertain Keynsham.