First Team Match Reports

Match Reports 2019-2020 Season - First XV

Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV 19  Minehead Barbarians RFC 1st XV 10

On Saturday afternoon The Stags welcomed Minehead Barbarians to The BASC ground for a top of the table clash as both teams had yet to taste defeat at this stage of the season.

The hosts knew this was going to be another tough match but were well prepared gaining the knowledge from last seasons two hard fought wins.

The game commenced and in the early stages The Stags had good territory by keeping Minehead in their own half but possession of ball was spilt between the two sides. Minehead's defensive line were quick which pressurised The Stags and forced several errors in open play which allowed Minehead to clear away.

The set piece had vastly improved from the previous week which allowed The Stags to maintain that territory. A scrum was awarded just short of the 5m line for the hosts and Jude Donnelley, playing at 8, picked the ball up from the base of the scrum who took off on the blindside and crashed through the oncoming winger to score the first try of the game after 30 mins. Tim Piper converted 7-0.

Minehead responded shortly after as they caught The Stags back line napping on the 10m line and there outside centre broke through a gap, with the winger in support, who received the ball to score out wide. 7-5.

From the restart, Minehead kept the ball well, going through the phases and worked there way back into The Stags half towards the try line but some quality defending by the hosts prevented the visitors from taking the lead before half time.

Positive words were given by Coach, Kevin Inalls, at half time and the players responded. Fullback, Alex Watkins, began to link well with the back line who created the overlap on several occasions but those pesky handling errors kept haunting many players. Patience and composure was needed when The Stags were in the 22 area which paid off after a lineout was won the home team, a maul was set but fell into a ruck. Quick ball was recycled to prop Ed Lewis on the blindside and he forced his way over to score The stags second try. 12-5.

The Stags began to gel from this point as they attacked the visitors. Veteran Fly half, Tim Piper, proving he still has it in him as he spotted gaps appearing a few times breaking the Minehead defence and during one move passed wide to Watkins coming at pace from 15m out who was tackled into touch inches from the try line.

Minehead batted well to keep The Stags at bay from the resulting lineout and managed to work away from danger pushing the hosts back. 

At times, The Stags defensive line were so quick (maybe a hint of offside once or twice) Josh Holder managed to intercept a pass and sped off towards the try line, looking for support but in doing so, allowed himself to be tackled 5m out.

Minehead continued to protect the try line for several minutes but its tough for any team to sustain attack for too long and with play back in the visitors 22 area, quick ball continued to be recycled and after several phases of play, Sam Lewis whipped the ball out to Will Hopkins, who was running at pace, and crashed through two tacklers then managed to stretch for the line and scored a well deserved try. Piper adding extras 19-5.

Minehead never gave up and proved why they are a tenacious team by putting The Stags under immense pressure for the remainder of the game and tested the home defence once again. This pressure paid off as they came away with another 5 points with only 8 minutes left to play. 19-10

The Stags were resilient and tackled everything that came at them but fell foul when Piper was binned for an infringement at the breakdown. With possession to Minehead, they thankfully lacked the bit of clinical play and  gave away possession when it was needed.  The Stags then went through the motions and fizzled out the remaining minutes.

Final Score 19-10.

Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV 17  Imperial RFC 1st XV 12

Saturday's clash at The BASC was a double header as both teams agreed to combine the league fixture with the first round of the Somerset Vase with The Stags aiming to retain the cup they won last season.

This fixture has always been a battle between the two sides and it was the hosts who had the upper hand in the first half. Possession of ball flitted between both teams for many periods of the first half but it was The Stags who made use of the possession who gained territory into the Imps half.

Imps showed what power they had up front as they dominated the scrums throughout the game but The Stags had a game plan and it was working well as they entered the Imps 22. The ball was fed out wide, from a previous set piece, and some well worked interlinking in the back line gave Outside centre, Josh Holder, the opportunity to cross the line and score the first try of the game after 15 minutes. Tim Piper converted 7-0.

Imps were dogged and ruthless at most breakdowns as they slow the ball down for The Stags for the next 15 minutes but when quick ball was produced Imps struggled to defend out back. The Stags learnt from old that patience will pay off which proved when Full Back, Alex Watkins, entered the back line to increase numbers, creating the overlap and scored to extend lead. Piper adding the extras. 14-0.

Piper slotted a penalty shortly after the second try increase the lead even more to 17-0 but it was Imps finished off the better side of the first half as they pushed The Stags back on to there own try line. Imps didn't have the patience like the hosts as they were trying to force the ball but The Stags quick defence and some poor handling errors let them down.

HT 17-0

The second half was a different a tale for the hosts. Imps knew they had the upper hand in the scrums and capitalised on this by opting for scrums when infringements were given. The Stags struggled to contain the ball on there own put in and Imps were awarded a penalty on the 5m line. The Stags knew what was coming and could not hold back the oncoming set of forwards and Imps scored an unconverted try from the base of the scrum. 17-5.

Imps pinned The Stags back but the lack of patience was evident for them as they kept giving away possession to allow The Stags to clear the line but a similar scenario to the first try happened again for Imps as they scored another push over try which was converted close the gap. 17-12.

The Stags knew what was coming and did not fall into the Imps trap for the remainder of the half as they did what they could in the scrums and stood firm in the loose. 

No points gained in the second half for The Stags but credit to all 15 players who defended immensely against a strong Imps side.

Final Score 17-12.

So with two hard fought games over the last couple of weeks The Stags have another this forthcoming Saturday as they remain home to entertain league leaders Minehead RFC. KO is a 3pm.

Burnham on Sea RFC 1st XV  30  Nailsea & Backwell RFC 1st XV  28

The Stags were looking to maintain there current unbeaten run, at this early stage of the season, as were visitors Nailsea & Backwell who proved to be The Stags toughest opponents during September.

The match commenced with N&B receiving from the KO who then tested The Stags resilient defence going through many phases of play for the opening 10 mins of the game. The Stags stood firm with everything thrown at them but once they gained possession of the ball it was time to test the visitors defence who also proved to be solid.

It took an 'American Football Style' dummy, after 20 mins by Fly Half, Tim Piper, to trick the oncoming N&B defence to open a gap for him to gallop off towards the try line with Scrum Half, Sam Lewis, in support who received the pass from Piper to score the first try of game which Piper converted. 7-0.

The N&B forwards were busy at the breakdown throughout the game and proved why they are a team to be wary of for others in the league as they set a platform for their backs to respond after 30 mins and level the score 7-7.

With both teams sharing possession and territory for many periods of the half it was The Stags who had the upper hand with quick ball being produced at the breakdown, going through the phases and forcing N&B to retreat. This momentum was difficult to defend for N&B and Sam Lewis fed the ball out wide which found its way to Hooker, Sam Wall, who dodged the oncoming players to score out wide. Piper was on cue and got the conversion. 14-7.

N&B caught the home team napping and responded immediately to level the score 14-14 shortly before half time.

The second half started brightly for The Stags and it wasn't too long before Inside Centre, Will Hopkins, showed his silky skills and raw power by forcing his way past several N&B players to score The Stags third try with Piper adding the extra's 21-14.

From the restart The Stags kept ball in hand and found themselves back in the N&B half and were awarded a Penalty for a high tackle. Piper maintained his 100% recorded and extended the lead 24-14.

N&B regrouped and forced the home team back into there own half and clawed back 7 points and keep within range. 24-21.

Piper slotted a penalty from just outside the 10m line with 10 minutes left to play. 27-21 and with 6 minutes to go The Stags were awarded another penalty 30-21.

N&B kept the crowd on the edge of there seats as they scored another converted try 30-28 but the whistle was blown shortly after the restart.

We can safely say that this was a fine display of rugby by both teams and credit to N&B for pushing The Stags to the wire.

Final Score 30-28

Man of the match was Tim Piper.

This Saturday The Stags remain at home with a double header in the league & Somerset Vase against Imperial RFC. KO is at 3pm. 

Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV 45  Yatton RFC 1st XV  5

The Stags were back on home turf this Saturday and welcomed last season’s fellow cup finalists Yatton RFC.

In perfect playing conditions the game commenced under the basking sunshine. Both teams struggled grasping the ball at times with many handling errors but it wasn’t too long before The Stags retained the possession of the ball, pressurising the Yatton defence which opened up the gaps and full back, Alex Watkins, scored the first try of the game. Tim Piper converted 7-0.

Most would of expected a flowing game of rugby on a dry pitch but it was a stop start affair with many dropped balls for both teams so scrummaging was at its high. This impacted on both sets of forwards for periods of the first half but gave a platform to work from.

The Stags Captain, Ross Mckechan, was next on the score board after several phases of play deep in the Yatton half with Piper converting 14-0.
Shortly after The Stags were awarded a penalty and Piper extended the lead 17-0 just before Half Time.

Some stern words were given by Coach, Kev Inalls, at half time and the players responded in the second half.

Stalwart, Piper, led the way by scoring and converting his own try after a mazy run and showing the crowd he’s still got it in him after all these years. 24-0.

The Stags then began to retain the ball well and break Yatton down. With quick ball produced by the pack, the backs were running from deep and winger, Conor Howard, opened up his legs to speed down the wing, outpacing a couple of Yatton players to score his first try which Piper converted. 31-0.

It was only a few minutes later that Piper produced a carbon copy of his first try, to his delight, and keep his 100% kicking record for the day. 38-0.

A lapse of concentration by the home team allowed Yatton to get on the score board with their only try of the game 38-5. T

This minor blip was likely to be the effects of the sun and heat but Conor Howard had enough pace and energy left in him to score the final try and seal the game. Piper converted 45-5.

Final Score 45-5.

The Stags remain at home this forthcoming Saturday and take on Nailsea & Backwell RFC. KO is 3pm.

Avon RFC 1st XV 26   Burnham On Sea RFC 1stXV  29

It was 10 years ago since The Stags last won at Avon RFC and after last seasons disappointment in this fixture the sun shone on the righteous.

The game started with high intensity and The Stags were forcing Avon to defend for several minutes then were awarded a penalty which Tim Piper converted after 5 minutes. 0-3.

It was clear to say that Avon were not going to be any push over on there own patch, who were strong in the scrums and dogged at the breakdown. This gave them the platform to pressurise the visitors and took the lead by scoring from within their own half. 7-3.

Both teams began to settle with Avon having good possession of ball and testing The Stags defence on numerous occasions. Both teams exchanged missed penalties but it was the visitors who added more points to the scoreboard with Scott Havercroft scoring out wide after several phases of play. 7-8.

With more possession of ball for The Stags, they began to make yards towards the Avon try line but quick line speed, solid in the loose and strong tackling Avon kept The Stags out shortly before half time.

HT 7-8

Changes were made at Half Time with Chris Warner coming on at tight head and Jude Donnelley on the wing. The scrums settled and the tide changed as The Stags had good possession of ball and with the warm and dry conditions the ball was fed from side to side along the back line and it wasn't long until The Stags extended the lead with Stef Pierce scoring and Piper adding the extras. 7-15

Shortly afterThe Stags were awarded a penalty and Piper kicked to touch. The ball was thrown long and inside centre, Will Hopkins, used his foot skills to control the ball, gathered and hit the oncoming Avon defence to only produce the most audacious off load to the supporting Piper who scored under the posts and converted his own try. 7-22.

Avon are a tenacious team and were not going to let The Stags think they were a push over. Possession was with Avon and they dug deep for many periods of the second half which paid off as they clawed back 14 points with two converted try's to bring the score 21-22.

The Stags were not going to repeat last years performance, where they let slip a large lead, so were straight back in Avon territory. A few phases of play had passed and the ball was fed along the line with Donnelley sucking in the oncoming defence and passing out wide to Scott Havercroft who bagged his second try of the game with only 5 mins to go. Piper was helped by the cross bar to get the conversion. 21-29.

Avon never gave up and sensed they could snatch the win and scored within a minute to bring the score 26-29 with 4 mins to go which was plenty of time for more points.

Avon managed to regain possession from the restart and pinned The Stags in there own half for the remaining minutes of the game but the visitors held out to seal a tough away win.

Final Score 26-29

Credit to Avon as they dug deep and always found away to keep themselves in the game.

Man of the Match was awarded to Chris Warner.

Next Saturday The Stags are home to Yatton RFC 1st XV

Burnham On Sea RFC 1st XV 58 Hornets RFC 2nd XV 15

The Stags welcomed local rivals Hornets to kick off the 2019/20 season and produced an sublime game of rugby with Inside Centre, Will Hopkins, bagging a hat trick of try's.

First on the score board for the home team was Hooker, Adam Peters, who received the ball at the back of a maul only 5m out from a lineout which was only going one way for Peter's try. 5-0

The game settled for a short period with both teams sharing possession of ball flitting into each others territories.

As The Stags began to settle a penalty was awarded to the home team who kicked for touch and sensed another try. Lineout won and off they went from 8m out With the ball at the back of the maul, scrum half, Sam Lewis scored the second try of the game. 10-0

Hornets had other ideas and caught the home team napping with a try out wide to close the 10 point gap. 10-5.

The Stags set pieces were sold throughout the game which set a platform to work from and Stef Pierce scored the third try. 15-0. 

Possession of ball was in the Stags favour and Lewis opened up the visitors defence with a blistering run, Hopkins was in support and received the ball from Lewis, to bag his first try which he converted himself. 22-5.

Soon after the forth try Hopkins began to shine with ball in hand showing his strength and power crashing into the Hornets defence to score his second try shortly before half time 27-5.

Only a few minutes had gone into the second half and No 8, Ash Cutter, spotted wholes in the Hornets line and waltzed through to extend the lead with The Stags sixth try which was converted. 34-5. 

Hornets scored a similar try to their first from out wide to claw back 5 points 34-10. 

The Stags responded and as Pierce scored his second try of the game 39-10 but  sadly, Hopkins was awarded a yellow card for not releasing the player he tackled soon after.

Hornets used this to their advantage and clawed back another try, 39-15 but further tries from replacement prop, Ed Lewis, his brother Sam and Man of the Match, Hopkins completed an emphatic win over there local rivals which finished up 58 - 15.

The Stags are on the road this forthcoming Saturday away to Avon 1st XV. KO is 3pm.

Click here to see match reports from 2018-2019 season


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