Lydney 25 Bracknell 11
LYDNEY marched on at the top of National Three South West and continued their 100 per cent home record with a bonus point win over third-placed Bracknell at Regentsholme, writes Chris Wilson.
The game was disappointing fare for anyone expecting a free-flowing game that the conditions seemed to promise.
Bracknell came to keep the ball, play the phases and take advantage of anything Lydney would give them.
It worked to a point as the first half was a frustrating one for Lydney. They seemed out of sorts after last week’s demolition of Barnstaple and found themselves 6-0 down after Ben Nowak kicked a couple of penalties from around the 22.
It took nearly 20 minutes for them to get their hands on the ball in anger as Bracknell controlled their possession and looked the sharper side when going wide.
After 18 minutes, Lydney struck. A penalty lineout was driven over for Mike Wallis to claim a try, Tony Wicks hitting the post with the touchline conversion.
Coach Duncan Bell rang the changes sending Paul Price and Jimmy Roberts on in a double change and that immediately seemed to change the dynamics of the game.
Brett Scriven and Nico Maybury saw yellow after disagreeing too violently about something and five minutes later, Roberts entered a ruck from the wrong side and joined them in the bin.
From the resulting penalty lineout, Lydney took the lead. Bracknell’s throw was wayward and the ball ended up with Chris Holder who scampered to the line from just outside the 22. Wicks added the goal.
However, Bracknell pulled a try back as Lydney’s tackling, which had been slipshod for most of the half, let them down again and Ian Burch was able to escape down the wing to score in the corner.
Bell would not have been a happy man at the break despite Lydney leading 12-11.
It took 10 minutes for the champions-elect to extend their lead. By that time the scrum had driven a Bracknell five-metre award backwards at a rate of knots and Burch had been sin-binned for a deliberate knock on.
Mike Baxter came on and two well-placed passes immediately got Lydney moving forward. Josh Hannam broke down the right before the ball was switched left and Josh Innes went over.
Wicks hit the post again but slotted a penalty just before the hour mark to extend the lead to 20-11.
Lydney were able to dominate the second period thanks to a favourable penalty count and some hard graft from the pack who earned turnovers and penalties with their foraging in the loose.
Fittingly, the forwards wrapped up the bonus point. After Stuart Silvester became the fifth man to see yellow, Lydney drove a five-metre scrum over to score through Will Jones.
Wicks couldn’t add the extras but Lydney had done enough to increase their unbeaten run to 17 matches and take a step nearer silverware.
LYDNEY: Tony Wicks; Josh Hannam, Josh Innes, Dewi Scourfield, Jack O'Connell; Chris Holder, Sam Arnott; Steve Price, Mike Wallis, Sam Winchcombe; Brett Scriven, Dave Bennett; Adam Wheeler, Will Jones (capt); Matt Boobyer. Reps: Paul Price, Jimmy Roberts, Mike Baxter.
BRACKNELL: Stuart Mackay; Ian Burch, Chris Brember, Ben Nowak, Ben Yates; Joe Price, Daniel Ap Dafydd; Jonny Mirza, Stuart Silvester, Ken Dowding; Kenny Barry, Ollie Taylor; Jonny Baugh, George Milligan; Nico Maybury (capt). Reps: Jack Petelo, Leo Bailey, Lewis Franklin.
REFEREE: Mike Hudson (South West Region)
STAR MAN: Until his move to the wing in the second half, Chris Holder was Lydney’s sharpest attacking weapon. His pace and quick thinking got him a try and he was a constant threat in midfield.