MATCH REPORT: Winscombe 1st XV 10, Gordano 1st XV 10
Winscombe were cruelly denied victory as second-placed Gordano’s late pressure produced a converted try to earn a draw in Saturday’s Tribute Somerset Premier clash.
Stuart Warren took a clean catch from the kick-off but a misdirected clearance immediately handed the initiative to Gordano and when a forward stepped offside at the first ruck of the game, they took the simple three points with only a minute on the clock.
Winscombe earned a powerful attacking scrum after a good chase of the restart, only for a knock-on to give Gordano a chance on the breakaway. However, Lewis Podpadec made an excellent cover tackle to deny them a try.
The visiting scrum-half made a fine break on the blind side shortly afterwards and this time Aaron Ford’s desperate defence halted the attack.
After these early scares, Winscombe took control of the game for the next 20 minutes, dominating the scrum, edging the lineouts and retaining possession through several phases, but letting themselves down by conceding penalties at the breakdown.
However, Gordano defended well to ensure Winscombe rarely threatened, while the home side’s midfield defence of Owen Howell, James Floer and James Rutherford was so tight that Gordano kicked away most of their possession, dealt with well by Steve Pugh.
Driving play from Will Thomas, Matt Truscott, Dan Fryer and Simon Thompson got Winscombe on the attack after 27 minutes and, following a Podpadec break down the touchline, Thomas was in support and he then offloaded for Ford to dive over for a well-worked try, which was converted by Pugh.
The rest of the first half was played out in Winscombe territory as they gave away more penalties but Podpadec stood out as the defence remained solid. They persevered with keeping the ball in hand and, although a couple of errors put them under the pressure, Gordano could not create a clear-cut chance.
Winscombe made the perfect start to the second half as a determined chase saw them secure their own kick-off and drive into the Gordano 22. The visitors were caught offside at a ruck and Winscombe added the three points to extend their lead to seven points.
Winscombe were forced to carry the ball over their own line after the restart but a good scrum got them out of trouble and the hosts then had a period of control.
However, they lost a man to the sin-bin for retaliation, which also meant the penalty was reversed to deny Winscombe a shot at goal.
Even with a man down, Winscombe were superior in the set-pieces and spent most of the time in the opposition half but they could not make it count.
In the final ten minutes, the game started to drift away from Winscombe as they lost their first throw-in of the half and Gordano had their first three stable scrums.
The hosts also conceded a run of six penalties at the breakdown and Gordano finally made it count when the powerful lock crashed over out wide, with the conversion creeping inside the post to tie the scores.