Record smashed by rampant Avon team
Avon registered their highestever league victory as they annihilated Bristol Barbarians 108-5 in Somerset Premier. The newly promoted Barbarians were ruthlessly exposed with half of last season’s successful team retiring or moving on to other clubs and felt the full force of an inspired Avon performance as they ran in 18 tries in a rampant performance where everything clicked into place. With Alex Gapper and Tom Boreham pulling the strings at half-back and Will Hayward putting in an immense shift in the loose, Avon had a constant supply of front foot possession which they exploited with a mixture of powerful running and deft offloads. The main beneficiaries were Zak Harwood with four tries in a manof-the-match performance at centre and Xander Davis, who celebrated his 20th birthday with another four-try haul. Debutant Iain Parris also marked his debut with a hat-trick of tries on the wing. Another landmark was set as the three Book brothers also scored a try each in the same game for the first time in their careers as hooker Sam, prop Kane and skipper Scott all touched down. Despite the Baa-baas never giving up tackling, Avon led by 41 points at the interval as their powerful runners sucked in their opponents’ defence before utilising the gaps out wide to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Playing down the slope in the second half, Avon continued in the same vein with a devastating display of multi-phase support which yielded further tries for Chas Med- dick, Dan Griffin, Ian Burnell and Jonny Batchelor, who also added six conversions. To their credit, Barbarians continued to put in a spirited performance to the final whistle and scored an excellent consolation try after a mazy run through midfield. Tom Boreham (2) and Zak Harwood also added conversions to complete the scoring to lift Avon to fourth in the league. Meanwhile, Avon 2nds launched their campaign against Frome 3rds in the Bath Combination Merit Table. Playing an 11-a-side match in line with the ethos of the competition, Avon lost 38-5 but welcomed back Steve Ealey from Australia and new South African prop Wayne Geerts. ■ WALCOT A young 2nd XV outfit salvaged a bonus point in a tough away fixture at Old Reds, managing to score 24 points against a welldrilled home side. After a deep kick downhill Walcot were immediately under pressure, pinned down in their 22 and after seven minutes of relentless tackling against a big Old Reds pack, eventually conceded an early try. This was the pattern for the first 20 minutes and Walcot conceded another, this time coming from a powerful run from the opposition fly-half. The visitors then managed to get their hands on the ball for the first time and good running from flanker Alex Stephenson and centre Ashley Hobbs got Walcot into the opposition’s half for the first time. However, after a period of good pressure the Old Reds winger managed to intercept a pass and run the length to make it 19-0 on the halfhour. Walcot began to fight back and won a penalty which fly-half Nick Dagger kicked deep into the home half, finding touch well inside the opposition’s 22. In the resulting lineout the imperious Ricky Messer leapt well and Walcot got the drive going, eventually crossing with Tom Reed touching down from a well-executed set-piece. They started the second half brightly with a sniping run from Hooker, Chris Martin creating space outside. Scrum-half Louis Mullane recycled well and Dagger stepped his opposition number and went in under the posts. With Old Reds dominating the scrum and Walcot struggling to get their backs going, the hosts scored two unanswered tries to snuff out any hope of a comeback. The visitors crept back into the game, however, and looked threatening with ball in hand with some great running from John Sinclair and the centre pairing of Toby Brown and Hobbs causing problems. Brown stepped through the defence and scored under the posts in the 52nd minute. Old Reds scored again to make the score 36-17, but Walcot fought back again and after a lot of pressure Mullane picked the ball up from the back of a ruck and broke through a tackle to stretch over the line and secure the deserved bonus point. Old Reds scored one more try and it finished 41-24. Back row/prop, Alex Phantis won the Nando’s Bath Vault’s Man of the Match with a great all round display. Walcot enjoyed a beer afterwards courtesy of sponsor Brickworker.
Nailsea & Backwell get a handful of whatever they can to stop a Stothert & Pitt 2nd XV break at the weekend, when the Corston side triumphed 47-17 in a friendly encounter
The Walcot 2nd XV opened their campaign with a 41-24 defeat to Old Reds