Calne Rugby (sponsored by Bevirs Solicitors) travelled to Coombe Down determined to close the gap between themselves on the teams above them in Dorset & Wilts 2 North. In poor weather conditions Coombe Down started the game attacking downhill as they looked to test Calne’s forwards during the early exchanges. The visitors stood strong and defended well as Coombe found it difficult to break through a resolute defence.
Due to the weather conditions there were numerous scrums and Calne’s front row of Pete Brownlie, Dave Evans and Tom Morten got the upper hand which would be maintained for the duration of the game.
Calne were boosted by the return of Bruce Harper in the second row but due to a number of players being unavailable due to holidays, illness and the odd broken finger nail, Calne called on the the services of veteran Micky Dyer (flanker) and club chairman, Chris Austin (wing) to make up a bare fifteen. Rolling back the years, Dyer put in a man of the match performance as he secured turnover ball and was a thorn in the Coombe Down side throughout.
However, it was Coombe Down who camped in the Calne half and looked the more likely to score the first try as Calne took a time to settle.
As the half progressed and the home sides experienced pack beginning to tire, Calne started to mount promising attacks with Dan Treacy, Adam Young and Marcus Turner linking well. And this pressure was rewarded as Calne’s number 10 Brian Hopkins breaking through the defence to score the first try of the game.
From the restart the home side were eager to respond but found the ever impressive fullback Mark Webber hard to beat as he ran from the Calne try line to relieve the pressure. Chris McAlonan and Micky Dyer seemed to be at every breakdown to thwart oncoming attacks However, Coombe Down found a way through ten minutes later with a three on one overlap to score in the corner to make it 5-7 at the break.
Calne’s knew that during the second half they would be playing downhill with the wind in their favour looked to use this to their advantage. It wasn’t long before captain Morten crashed over for a well deserved try and with scrumhalf Treacy having a good day with the boot, the extra points were a formality.
This spurred Calne on to attack from the restart as they looked to turn the screw on their opponents. Brian Hopkins was causing havoc in the Coombe defence and danced through to score his second of the game. Cameron Davies had a fantastic game at number 8 as he broke through some desperate tackling to score his first try of the afternoon.
The conditions did not encourage running rugby but a great kick through from the ever consistent Keith Bradley was chase by Chris McAlonan and Chris Austin but the ball went dead before they could add to the score.
But it would be Calne’s day as Davies crashed over again to score Calne’s fifth try (4 conversions) to make it 5-33.
Captain Tom Morten was delighted with the away win and said ” We didnt start well but in the second half we played some great rugby. We travelled with only 15 players which is the biggest disappointment but on the plus side, the 15 on the pitch did Calne proud.
Player/Chairman Chris Austin was pleased to get a win away from home and said. I know many clubs have issues with player availability, especially this time of year and when playing away games. However, its about wanting to play for your town and your team mates and there is great togetherness at this club. this Saturday we have Chippenham 3XV and we will do doubt have 25 players available for it! We want to go into the festive season on a high and then look for a strong 2017.