Barnstaple 0 Lydney 51
THIS was marked down as a potential banana skin for the runaway leaders of National Three South West. But in truth it was ended as a contest long before half time when the visitors had scored 30 points without reply.
It was one of Lydney's best performances of the season. Duncan Bell's side were simply a level or two above the home team, who had lost only one game at home prior to Lydney's visit but were outplayed and out-thought by a very disciplined outfit.
Tony Wicks kicked a penalty after a high tackle on five minutes, and this was followed by another on 10 minutes.
The visitors’ backs were causing Barnstaple problems every time they had the ball with strong direct running, and it came as no surprise when Lydney scored the first try of the afternoon from a break by Chris Holder that was finished off by Josh Hannam, and the extras were added by Wicks, to put the visitors 13-0 ahead.
Within a minute Lydney went further ahead when Sam Arnott took a quick penalty and set Charlie Vine free. He sprinted clear and crossed wide out. Wicks missed the conversion, but it was 18-0 to the visitors.
Lydney were in total command now, with Adam Wheeler, Will Jones and Brett Scriven outstanding in a dominant display from the Lydney forwards.
It was Wheeler who crossed for the next try after good work from Josh Innes put him through. The bonus point try was scored just before half-time when scrum-half Sam Arnott took a quick penalty and breached the home side’s defence to score.
The conversion was missed but Lydney went 30 points to the good at the break.
From the restart Barnstaple gained territorial advantage for the first time and, with Tom Skelding and captain Win James to the fore, they put Lydney under pressure for a 20-minute spell.
The visitors' defence was well capable of withstanding the onslaught and coming back with more direct running that Barnstaple couldn’t deal with.
It took until the 65th minute for Lydney to stretch their lead when prop Steve Price, who was having an excellent game, scored under the posts. Wicks converted.
Lydney had made changes and Calum Wyman and debutant Jake McMahon were both instrumental in freeing Hannam up, who scored wide out.
Lydney were playing some of their best rugby of the season and the home defence was constantly being stretched by the powerful runs of the Lydney forwards.
The seventh try and Hannam's third came after a passing movement took the visitors 60 yards before Hannam was put clear and he touched down under the posts. Wicks converted.
The shell-shocked home side were unlucky to catch the league leaders on a day where conditions and a referee who allowed play to flow aided their game.
Second-placed Bracknell are the visitors to Lydney next week. They will not be relishing the trip after this result.
LYDNEY: Tony Wicks, Josh Hannam, Josh Innes, Dewi Scourfield, Charlie Vine, Chris Holder, Sam Arnott, Steve Price, Mike Wallace, Sam Winchcombe, Jimmy Roberts, Brett Scriven, Adam Wheeler, Matt Boobyer, Will Jones (capt). Reps: Jake McMahon, Calum Wyman, Jack O'Connell.
BARNSTAPLE: Matt Down, Toby Williamson, Tom Heard, Luke Berry, Ryan Brend, Will Tops, Jacob Nash, Dave Kimberly, Winston James (capt), Mike Peek, Tom Skelding, Matt Gohl, Craig Shore, Glen Cooper, Mark Berry. Reps: Shane Maddock, Jon Down, Sean East.
REFEREE: Simon Walker (Dorset, Wilts Society).
STAR MAN: Adam Wheeler.