5th March 2016
2nds vs Civil Service
Civil service 27 – 30 Smiths Hamsters
From the off Both teams played some good running rugby in the backs which made it very end to end running. Smiths realised they had better go forward ball and were able to build phases by crashing the ball up in the forwards. Service couldn’t cope with this at times and 3 try’s were scored from this play even though service try to kill the ball laying the wrong side. The tempo dropped and became a little disjointed. After a few slips in defence we let them back in the game but some good rucking and quick hands saw the ball out wide for a score in the corner. Service came straight back but with some guts and a great last ditch tackle from the Fullback they were kept out for the win.
5th March 2016
1sts vs Spartans
Smiths beaten by league leaders Spartans in league/Cup Final double fixture.
Smiths Rugby made the short trip down the Golden Valley to play Spartans with many 1st team players unavailable for various reasons. Spartans are a strong side and have only lost one fixture all season. They were deserved winners as the 33-5 scoreline showed.
Spartans started with the wind at their and made good use of it with their fly half and full back kicking deep into Smiths 22. Smiths in turn found it hard to relieve pressure but for 20 minutes they defended bravely despite spending most of the time 10m out from their try line.
Eventually though the pressure told and as Smiths tried again to clear their 22m the ball came loose from a ruck and Spartans were quickest to react to scramble the ball over the Smiths line.
Spartans were quickly back into Smiths 22 and had lots of willing runners to use quick ball exhausting Smiths defence to create another score.
Smiths had moments of good play choosing to run the ball rather than kick on occasion but they couldn’t keep the ball long enough to really threaten Spartans.
More incisive Spartans play led to a string of penalties conceded by Smiths and eventually the referee showed a yellow card to prop John Bryant for a ruck infringement.
During the sin bin Spartans made use of the extra man to take the score to 19-0 at half time.
Smiths started the second half brightly but still struggled to play with their usual force and fluency, partly due to Spartans’ defend but partly due to unforced errors. A loose kick to Spartans full back was returned with interested and a couple of missed tackles had Spartans scoring their 4th try out wide.
Smiths effort was not to be faulted though and turnover ball was cleverly with good hands from forwards and backs finding Bryant wide on the right in Spartans 22. With support from Oli Pritchett drawing the full back Bryant bundled over the try line with a covering Spartans player attached to him.
This brought the Smiths standards up a notch with ball in hand causing Spartans some problems. Their open play led to the final Spartans score though to finish the game 33-5.
With a cocktail of unavailability, injuries on the day and a very good Spartans team Smiths shouldn’t be too down about the result however they didn’t perform to their best.
Their next league fixture is vs Old Colstonians on March 19th at Prince of Wales Stadium when the are holding a VPs/Smiths Legends day.
27th February 2016
1sts vs Broad Plain
Smiths through to County Cup Final in style.
Smiths Rugby beat Broad Plain RFC 53-7 in the semi final of the Level 10 County Cup. It was their 7th win in a row and we’ll deserved with them impressing in attack and defence.
The first 25 minutes had a running theme of Smiths repelling Broad Plain’s forwards well with clearing kicks from half backs Sam Cook and Dan Dronsfield, only to concede penalty after penalty to keep their Bristol opposition in the game. Coach Chris Raymond had noted 13 penalties conceded by half time as Smiths offended at the breakdown.
One missed penalty kick to touch by Broad Plain saw Smiths fly half Dronsfield feed centre Pete Read in their 22. Reed jinked and accelerated up to their 10m line. The ball then went wide to Man of the Match John Bryant who excelled in the loose all game. Bryant carried up to within 7m of the Broad Plain line and left the defence in disarray. Quick hands saw 12 Ben Hawker dot down behind the posts for a 7-0 lead.
After more stout defence in the face of simple but effective Broad Plain tactics, Smiths won a turnover in midfield and played wide to Bryant in the left hand 15m channel. A driving run to the 22m line and an outrageous offload out the back door set up Hawker for a 20m finish out wide. Bumping one player and out sprinting another he had a 2nd try and put Smiths 12-0 up.
Starting to find their feet Smiths had a greater share of the territory and possession it was Broad Plain who fell foul of the referee. A penalty was awarded just inside the 22m and Captain Fearless Charles Peters elected to run the ball. With Broad Plain’s defence focused on the Smiths pack, a wider pass from Cook found Peters in acres of space and he finished an easy run in for 19-0.
Broad Plain were then the beneficiaries of Smiths expansive play as their pacy centre intercepted a pass and ran in from 60m to bring the score to 19-7.
That score was quickly reversed in almost a carbon copy as Reed picked off a loose Broad Plain pass and showed his trademark pace to run 60m himself and give Smiths a half time lead of 24-7.
Smiths forwards came into the game more and more and their running lines tested Broad Plain’s defence. Another penalty gave Cook the opportunity to barge over from 5m and stretch the lead to 31-7.
Another set of busting runs, including from new recruit Joe Dawson, led to a penalty advantage but it wasn’t needed as replacement 10 Tom Wardell used pace and power to finish from 10m out, 36-7.
Wardell was at it again with the Broad Plain defence flagging and a dummy opened up another gap for him to exploit to go 41-7 up.
The last try was just reward for the recent performances for flanker turned wing Damien Dinwiddy. Receiving the ball out wide with no real options he combined power and footwork to beat 3 defenders to the line, 46-7.
The scoring was completed by prop Alex Ayres running onto another sublime offload from Bryant to wrap up another great win 53-7.
Smiths were short of a few of their first choice players but the selection committee will now have a problem thanks to impressive performances from those who took their chance to shine.
20th February 2016
1sts vs Ross on Wye:
A sixth consecutive win saw Smiths Rugby leapfrog their match day opponents Ross on Wye RFC into 5th place in Gloucester 2.
On a blustery day at The Prince of Wales Stadium, Smiths started against the wind but were able to get a foothold in the match thanks to an agressive defensive line and powerful scrum.
A running theme throughout the match was Smiths ability to create chances but not deliver the final killer blow. This changed however when Ross were pressured into a loose kick with the Smiths back three waiting.
Andrew Hockley received kick in his own 10m and charges up field. With support from John Bryant and Pete Read the Ross defence couldn’t commit to a tackle and Hockley left two tacklers on the floor as he finished with a burst of pace.
Ross managed a penalty kick to get themselves into the game and the first half finished 5-3. The players were disappointed at half time to have lost composure at key times however coach Chris Raymond reminded them they were on top against a very good Ross outfit.
The second half saw more of the same attacking threat through Man of the Match Ben Hawker adding a more direct running threat in midfield and Smiths outside backs making good yards with quick ball.
Working hard into the Ross 22m Smiths had a strong scrum with Ali Howard picking off the base for a 15m gain. The ball was switched back to Read who stayed strong to be driven on by support. Quick recycled ball caused Ross to be offside. Captain Charles Peters was on hand as ever to take a quick tap and wiggle over from 5m.
Smiths were comfortable without being entirely in control of the game and another foray into the Ross 22m saw a messy Smiths line out tidied well by Bryant. This created some forward momentum for Hawker too cut into the line strongly. He avoided a couple of tacklers and passed onto Tyler Rees who showed quick hands to put Oli Pritchett over in the corner. Brother Will converted for a 17-3 lead.
An improved performance that set the team up well for their next test at home against Broad Plain RFC in the County Cup semi final on Feb 27th
13th February 2016
1sts vs Minchinhampton:
Smiths shows guts to overcome determined Minchinhampton.
Smiths rugby continued their winnings ways beating Minchinhampton 3-9 at Minch’s Hollybush ground.
In constant rain and cold temperatures it was a real test for Smiths Rugby in what has been a real bogey fixture in recent years.
Playing against the wind and uphill, Smiths started well with good structure to their phase play. Man of the Match Adam Ginns drove his team on with some strong carries and provided front foot ball for his back line.
Minch struggled to contain Smiths phase play however and two penalties conceded in their 22m area led to a half time 0-6 lead courtesy of fly half Will Pritchett’s boot.
Minch started the second half with a new verve and using pick and drives and runners off their 9 they made early yards into Smiths’ territory.
Now on top with strong scrummaging and line out drives Minch certainly deserved their first points from a penalty goal. Smiths found the control they exerted from the first half harder to establish and had to work hard for and gains.
When Smiths threatened the mistakes from the first half repeated themselves and chances to finish the game were missed.
One period of pressure saw them go 3-9 up with a 3rd Pritchett penalty but it was Minch who looked the stronger team.
A series of scrums on Smiths led to penalties to Minch but one brave scrum from the Smiths pack saw a penalty go their way and provided a chance to clear.
It was a bit of a smash and grab job against a Minchinhampton side that always raise their game against Smiths but it was pleasing for the squad and coach Chris Raymond that they had found a way to win.
13th February 2016
2nds vs Spartans 2nds
Smiths 2s were unable to continue their recent streak of wins, losing a close encounter with Spartans 2s 24-17.
Spartans certainly had the better of the first half, going into the break 21-0 ahead. Both teams played some good rugby in the first half, with some strong carries from both sides. Spartans were able to use the slope and wind to their advantage, with their fly half expertly pinning Smiths inside their own 22. Despite some dogged defence, led by openside flanker Alan Hyde, Spartans were able to score three tries from the territorial advantage they created for themselves.
At the break, the Smiths players spoke of using the hill to their advantage but also increasing the carrying options off fly half Tom Wardell. To their credit this is exactly what they did. Wardell put several accurate kicks in to pressurize the Spartans back 3, whilst number 8 Adam Naylor and centre Cliff Bere led the way in carrying.
The second half was dominated by Smiths, similar in the way Spartans had dominated the first, showing how much of an impact the subtle slope at the Prince of Wales makes. Against the run of play, Spartans were able to extend their lead with a penalty from their impressive fly half. However after this the majority of the game was spent inside the Spartans half. Naylor and debutant Joe Dawson provided excellent ball off the lineout and Smiths started to play the expansive rugby they are capable of when in the mood. Smiths were able to score three tries in the final 20 minutes. One from prop Rob Sekulic, who bulldozed his way over the line from a few metres out and two from fly half Wardell, who twice opportunistically spotted lapses in the Spartans defence and powered through.
Wardell’s second try brought an end to a well contested match, with Spartans happy to come away with a win and Smiths feeling positive about their much improved second half performance.
Smiths Rugby next fixtures 1sts and 2nds Saturday 20 February at Prince of Wales Stadium against Ross-on-Wye and Cainscross 2nds.