yeovil 25 - avonvale 12
SAT 9th april
Avonvale travelled to Yeovil for their last league game of the season and it went much the same way as the rest of the season.
Vale went 5.0 down early on and then scored a cracking try through winger Dan Carter which was converted by Finn O'Reagan.
Yeovil then scored two tries before Vale responded with another scorcher from Carter.
Vale were down 15.12 at half time.
Yeovil used their sloping pitch to great effect in the second half pinning Vale back for most of the half. Yeovil scored two more tries to give them a 25.12 victory but Vale were not too despondant as this was their first season at this level and they had given a great account of themselves in all the games they played.
Vale will now embark on an Easter Tour to Hastings where they will play Hastings and Faversham
avonvale 22 - Wimborne 39
SAT 2nd april
Vale welcomed Wimborne to the Crown Field for their first ever home game against this opposition who used to play in the National Leagues.
Wimborne brought a massive set of forwards with them and used them to great effect; Vale however were undeterred and set about their task with great efficiency.
Having a real go at their opposition Vale raced into the lead when fly half Willy Gibbs put in a grubber kick and full back Will Andrews won the race to touch the ball down.
Wimborne got off the mark with a penalty with Vale responding with one of their own from Ciaran O,Connor.
Wimborne then used their forwards to score two good tries but Vale would not lie down and a fantastic individual try by scrum half Alex Pugh and a conversion from Dan Carter brought the scores level at 15 apiece.
As well as a big set of forwards, Wimborne brought a very experienced 9 and 10 with them who controlled the game superbly. Moving the Vale around and controlling long phases of the game Wimborne went away from Vale in the second half scoring three tries to lead 32.15.
Vale would not give up and scored a superb try when they finally got things right with centre O.Connor scorching over after a well worked move, he converted his own try and Vale were 22.32 behind and were looking for another try to give them two losing bonus points.
However Wimborne closed the game out scoring another try to finish winners at 39.22.
Stand in coach Steve Phillips commented,
"We were bullied up front but stuck to the task but their experience at playing at the higher levels saw them through in the end. I cannot fault the players effort and commitment which was second to none."
Walcot 23 - avonvale 12
SAT 26th MARCH
Walcot victorious in derby game
Avonvale played their first league game away at Walcot for over twenty years last Saturday,
and pushed the hosts closer than anybody thought they would.
On a bright sunshiny but windy day on Lansdown, Vale had first use of the wind.
However it was Walcot who scored first when their winger cruised through a couple of tackles to score out wide. The conversion was missed.
Vale came storming back and after several phases of play the ball was recycled ten metres
from the Walcot line and captain Hayden Rogers hit a great line to scorch through the
defence and score under the posts.
Fly half Finbar O'Reagan adding the extras. Walcot hit back to convert a penalty which
gave them a 8.7 lead at half time.
Vale were first out of the blocks in the second half when some great play by the Vale backs gave winger Jack Burcombe a chance to use his pace and he scored out wide. Vale were not giving an inch and were throwing everything at Walcot but could not increase their lead. Walcot got back into the game with a try by their winger to give them a 13.12 lead.
Vale were now under pressure and after full back Dan Carter was sin binned Walcot wrapped up the game with two late tries.
Vale were commended for their doggedness and commitment throughout the game and were in the game for 65 mins just dropping towards the end.
We look forward to welcoming Wimbourne to the Crown Field next Saturday
avonvale 12 - Swindon College Old boys 22
SAT 12th MARCH.
Vale lose against the Old Boys...
Avonvale had won their first encounter with Swindon College Old Boys in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and had high hopes of repeating the feat this time around.
Unfortunately a combination of poor tackling, dropped passes and wrong decisions brought about their own downfall.
Swindon struck first when a good break by one of their centres created space out wide for the winger to score.
Vale came back at them and after some strong carries by the forwards prop Donald Wilkins crashed over from five metres, Near the end of the first half a loose kick from Vale was fielded by the Swindon full back who ran through 5 attempted tackles to create a try for their winger to score.
The second half was a drab affair with the one highlight for Vale being a scorching line break by winger Will Andrews who hit the line at pace and shot through to score. The try was converted by fly half Finbar O'Reagan.
That was as good as it got for Vale,Swindon scored near the end again due to poor tackling and converted a penalty to leave the Vale 12.22 behind. To cap it all Vale missed a penalty in front the posts which would have given them a losing bonus point .which they certainly did not deserve.
Coach Dave George commented,
If we want to compete at this level we cannot afford to fall off tackles like we did today. We must have missed at least 20 tackles. They were not a good side but we were worse.
Wimborne 41 - avonvale 24
SAT 26th feb.
Vale grab losing bonus at Wimborne.
Avonvale travelled to Wimborne to play their first ever league game against a team that had come down from the league above.
The difference in class was obvious from the start, but Vale hung in there and made a decent fist of it.
Wimborne opened the scoring in the second minute with a try in the corner but Vale stormed back with a quick tap and go by scrum half Ben Hansford-Holt resulting in a try.
Wimborne then took control and scored four more tries before Vale winger Will Andrews quick thinking caught them napping as he raced away to score a try to leave Vale down at half time by 31. 12.
With the wind at their backs, Wimborne were expected to run up a cricket score but such was Vale's resilience and determination that Vale scored first in the second half with a cracking try by wing Jack Burcombe.
Wimborne scored a pushover try before Vale scored again with a try from prop James Neale to secure a deserved bonus point.
Wimborne scored a try with the last play of the game to give them victory by 41 points to 24.
Next week Vale are at away at Swindon
avonvale 17 - Swanage 34
SAT 19th feb.
Swans prevail in high winds...
Avonvale welcomed Swanage and Wareham to the Crown Field for the first time and although struggling with injuries gave a spirited display in very testing conditions.
Swanage had first use of the gale force wind and used it well kicking for position. They scored two quick fire tries to lead 10 points to nil.
Vale worked hard to get back into the game and after some great driving work by the forwards prop Hayden Rogers emerged from under the pile of bodies.
Unfortunately Vale, thinking the hard work was done, gave away a soft try straight away.
Vale continued with their game plan keeping the ball on hand, and winger Will Andrews crossed in the corner to leave Vale 17.10 down at half time.
With the wind at their backs Vale started the second half strongly but their decision making was poor and wrong choices were made at vital times and Vale blew two great try scoring chances to take the lead.
Swanage used their big forwards to truck the ball up and their sharper backs created three more tries. Vale did score a try at the end with Jack Burcombe touching down under the posts with centre Sam Fellows converting to leave the final score at Vale 17 Swanage 34.
Vale coach Dave George said:
We had our chances today but we kept cutting back inside to where they were strong instead of moving the ball wide to run their big forwards around. Our decision making was poor and we need to learn quickly if we are to stay at this level.
Next week Vale are at away at Wimborne
Combe Down 41 - avonvale 7
SAT 6th feb.
Injuries mounting as Vale well beaten by Combe Down
Avonvale gave a much improved and spirited display in their re arranged game away at Combe Down.
Unfortunately Vale's recent injury crisis got worse when prop Matt Elsinor had to leave the field after five minutes with a cut leg which required four stitches.
Vale had the early pressure but could not turn it into points.
From a loose kick by Vale the Combe Down winger ran back and some poor attempted tackles were missed and Down opened the scoring.
Down scored two more tries using home advantage to great effect. Vale came storming back and after the ball was spun wide winger Morgan Williams scored his first try for the Vale. In the second half Vale had to attack uphill and although they worked hard, injuries to key players robbed them of any success.
Down scored four more tries to give them a 41.7 victory but Vale left the field with their heads held high after a poor second half performance last week.
Vale spokesperson Ros George said.
We have an awful injury list but we have to keep going.
We are down to bare bones but we will keep battling and eventually it will come good.
avonvale 3 - dorchester 40
SAT 29th JAN.
Vale well beaten by Dorchester
Avonvale welcomed Dorchester to the Crown Field for the first time for their Southern Counties South game.
Playing against the wind in the first half, Vale gave a good account of themselves.
Two penalties to Dorchester and one to Vale looked like being the half time score but Vale tried running the ball out from their try line but knocked on, From the resultant scrum Dorchester scored and converted to give them a 13.3 lead.
With the wind behind them Vale thought they could ease to victory but unfortunately it all went wrong. Vale knocked on from the kick off giving Dorchester the ball.
They used their big forwards to good effect against the wind and scored in the corner.
It went from bad to worse for Vale as Dorchester scored another try soon after. Nothing went right for Vale and everything they tried failed.
Dorchester scored six tries in all and ran out 40 points to 3 winners.
Vale coach Dave George said.
Everything we tried went wrong and we did not get the rub of the green today. Our performance in the second half was poor but we have to draw a line under it and move on.
Next week Vale are away at Combe Down
avonvale 14 - CORSHAM 7
SAT 15th JAN.
Vale start 2022 with winning ways!
This was the first game back after the Xmas break and it showed as both Avonvale and Corsham made lots of mistakes.
Having won the first league match at Corsham, Vale thought they would run away with this one but Corsham had other ideas.
Vale opened the scoring when constant pressure by the forwards and a well planned backs move resulted in wing Jack Burcombe crossing the whitewash and dotting down near the posts to give centre Dan Carter the easiest of conversions.
The score remained the same up to half time. In the second half Vale stretched their lead when scrum half Ben Hansford Holt darted over the line from a five metre scrum.
Centre Ciaran O'Connor converted to give Vale a 14.0 lead. Vale thought they would cruise to victory but Corsham battled back and scored a try themselves which was converted to leave them 7 points behind.
With their tails up, Corsham attacked Vale but could not cross the line and Vale were relieved to hear the final whistle to secure their third win of the season.
This was probably our worst performance of the season but we came away with a victory so great credit to the lads
Next week Vale are away at league leaders Devizes.
Vale coach, Dave George
avonvale 10 - Walcot 31
SAT 11th DEC.
Vale lose out to near neighbours...
Avonvale welcomed Walcot to the Crown Field on Saturday to play their first league fixture for over twenty years.
Walcot raced into an early 7.0 lead scoring a try near the posts after going through lots of phases of play but Vale replied soon after with a penalty converted by Sam Fellows.
Ten minutes later Vale took the lead when they disrupted a Walcot five metre scrum and shoved them back over their line for No. 8 Joe Vowles to touchdown, the successful conversion by Fellows gave Vale a 10.7 lead.
Unfortunately that was as good as it got for Vale as Walcot regained the lead moments later. In the second half Walcot probably played their best game so far this season and Vale played by far their worst as Walcot dominated the game with Vale struggling to get out of their own half.
Walcot added another three tries to give them a convincing 31.10 victory.
Swindon college old boys 22 - avonvale 24
SAT 4th DEC.
Vale cling on to secure vital win at Swindon
Where there's a Will there's a way!
Avonvale travelled to Swindon College Old Boys on Saturday for another first ever fixture, this time against the Old Boys 1st XV.
On a cold day Vale played with a bitterly cold strong wind behind them and opened the scoring after some great driving work by their much lighter forwards had created space for right wing Will Andrews to dot down in the right hand corner after 5 mins. The difficult conversion was missed from wide out.
Swindon then took control using their big forwards against the wind and scored two tries to give them a 10. 5 lead.
Vale were hanging on but a moment of creative magic and from a speculative kick from fly half Sam Fellows the ball bounced kindly for Andrews who darted between two surprised defenders to score.
Vale had a great chance at the end of the first half to score but a line-out five metres out was botched and the scores were level at half time.
With the wind behind them in the second half and their large forwards Swindon were expected to romp away with the game. However Vale had different ideas. Although being down to 14 men for the remainder of the game. Andrews intercepted a pass to score under the posts with Fellow's converting to give them a 17.10 lead.
Then with the Swindon forwards tiring and a spilled ball gathered up by Andrews in his own 22 he sprinted outside 4 defenders to give Vale a 22 10 lead with 5 minutes left.
The successful conversion meant Swindon had to score two tries just to level it.
Swindon however would not lie down and after a mistake from the kick off Vale gave away a penalty. Swindon kicked for the corner and after the line out they moved the ball wide and scored.
The try was superbly converted from the touchline. Swindon attacked again straight from the kick off and with Vale tiring they scored again but fortunately for Vale the conversion was missed.
Vale held on for the last minute and ran out winners 24.22
Our roving reporter returned no coaches notes this week but on the balance of what we've read above I expect we can put him down as a mixture of "jubilant with the win" and "resting his heart" after that final 5 minutes!
avonvale 7 - Swindon 12
SAT 27th nov.
Vale fall just short against Swindon
Swindon travelled to Avonvale sitting 2nd in the league with an unbeaten record so far and the early exchanges suggested that nothing was going to change as Swindon used their big forwards to great effect to open up a 12.0 lead within 15 minutes.
Vale lost prop Donald Wilkins after 5 minutes and was replaced by experienced Matt Elsinor which helped shore up the scrum..
The young Vale side were struggling to hang on as Swindon showed why they are near the top moving the ball well and pinning Vale back.
However the Vale defence remained strong and gradually they worked their way into the game and just before half time scored a try by wing Jack Burcombe which was converted by Finn O'Reagan.
The half time score of 7-12 was testament of Vale determination.
After early pressure by Swindon at the start of the second half which Vale defended well, most of the play was between the two 22 metre lines.
Vale were unlucky near the end of the game as they attacked well but could not get over the line leaving them with another losing bonus point.
Coach Dave George was buoyant in defeat with his comments below.
Vale travel to Swindon College next Saturday
"We were under the cosh for half the first half but in the end we should have won, Swindon are experienced in this league and knew how to hold out for a win. The effort from the lads is exceptional and it is only a matter of time before we get our next win."
Vale coach, Dave George
swanage & wareham 11 - avonvale 7
SAT 20th nov.
Vale secure late losing bonus at Swanage
Avonvale made the long trip to Swanage & Wareham for their first ever league game against the Swans. Although they are near the bottom of the league the Vale are competitive in what is their highest ever league standings.
With both sides trying to play running rugby it was a real surprise that the score board remained pointless at half time although both sides were making lots of mistakes.
Midway through the second half with the score still 0.0, Vale crucially missed two penalties and then had a player sin binned and Swanage took full advantage.
Swanage kicked the ball to the corner and from the line-out they rumbled over the line for the first try of the day with 15 minutes remaining. Swanage kicked two quick penalties while Vale were down to 14 men to open up a 11.0 lead.
With time running out and with Vale back up to 15 Vale went in search of a losing bonus point.
After a penalty kick to the corner Vale went for a catch and drive. This was stopped illegally and Vale opted for the scrum.
After no fewer than 5 more scrum penalties the referee finally awarded Vale a penalty try to give them a losing bonus point.
"We were unlucky today not taking our chances but the lads are showing great determination and effort and with a bit of luck going our way we will hopefully stay up. It will certainly not be without effort and commitment"
Vale coach, Dave George
AVONVALE 3 - Salisbury 27 - SAT 6th nov.
Vale fall to defeat by Salisbury
Avonvale played their first ever game at senior level against Salisbury and were not overawed by their big town opponents.
They were however given a lesson in how to play the game in the right areas and at pace.
Salisbury cruised into a two try lead within ten minutes and the writing looked to be on the wall for a 50 point hiding but Vale dug in and took the game to their illustrious opponents and turned around at half time only 10.3 down.
The Salisbury backs were the difference between the sides and quickly scored another try at the start of the second half.
Vale however would not give up and were pressing for a try when they knocked the ball on in the Salisbury 22 and Salisbury swept onto the attack and scored a length of the field try.
Salisbury scored one more try to give them a 27.3 victory but great credit must go to Vale who had three teenagers making their 1st XV debuts and would not let their heads go down and kept battling to the very end.
DORCHESTER 52 - AVONVALE 24 - SAT 30th oct.
14 man Vale beaten at Dorchester
Avonvale traveled to Dorchester for their first ever league fixture against this opposition and got off to the worse possible start when they lost two players in the warm up.
Fly half Finn O Reagan and fullback Josh Meager both pulled up with injuries leaving
Vale with just one replacement.
Dorchester started the game strongly and had their first try on the board after five minutes.
Vale came back at them and after pressurising the Dorchester fly half behind his own line, flanker Will Clark dropped on the ball to score.
Dorchester piled on the pressure and after Vale had lost one of their props to injury, they scored three quick fire tries to take a 24.7 lead.
Vale would not give up and came back to score a try through scrum half Alex Pugh making the score 24.12 at half time.
Dorchester got off to a cracking start in the second half, scoring two early tries to lead 38.12.
Disaster struck for Vale when they then lost replacement prop and captain Hayden Rogers but they refused to lie down and came back to score two tries of their own through Pugh and second row Charlie Fallows to secure a try bonus point.
Vale went in search of another try in an attempt to secure a losing bonus point but having to play with 14 men took its toll and as Vale chased the game mistakes came and Dorchester broke away twice to leave Vale with a 52.24 defeat.
The players are to be commended for their grit and determination in securing a bonus point after such a poor beginning to their day
Vale coach,Dave George
AVONVALE 14 - Devizes 40 - SAT 24th oct.
Vale well beaten by league leaders...
Avonvale welcomed the league leaders Devizes to the Crown Field, buoyed by their first victory at their highest level two weeks ago against Corsham.
Devizes proved a totally different kettle of fish as their big forwards took the game to the Vale, with Vale finding themselves 12.0 down in as many minutes as Devizes scored two tries through their forwards.
To their credit Vale battled back and should have scored before half time with only a knock-on thwarting them but they made their opponents work hard to keep them off the score sheet.
The second half started in much the same vein as the first, as Devizes grabbed two tries to claim the bonus point.
Vale battled gamely but a couple of mis-tackles let Devizes build a commanding 40.0 lead.
All was not lost however and Vale gained some consolation from the game by scoring two late tries through Will Andrews and Alex Pugh to leave the scoreline at 40.14 to Devizes.
We know we may take a few hidings in this league but the lads have showed tremendous spirit and fight and if we can win four or five games we should stay up.
Vale coach,Dave George
Corsham 17- AVONVALE 24 - SAT 9th oct.
Late points secure first victory for the Vale away at Corsham
The Vale travelled to Corsham on Saturday for their first away fixture of the season. After two narrow defeats at the previous two home matches it was important that the Vale secured a result to start to
gain some momentum in the league competition this season.
Both teams started the match in a frantic fashion trading blows in the early encounters but was
Corsham who gained an initial advantage after some early ill discipline rewarded them with a
penalty after only 5mins of play.
Fortunately the opposition missed the opportunity to gain an early three point lead, however they did not need to wait long before converting pressure into points when the Corsham No.13 crossed the line for an early try, Corsham missing the conversion to lead 5-0 after ten minutes.
Most of the remainder of the first half was a mixed bag of attack and defence from both sides with pressure resulting in a flurry of penalties being awarded.
Eventually after 35mins of play, the Vale secured a strong scrummage inside the opposition 22, resulting in clean ball to the backs and some strong individual skill from Will Andrews to cross the line for a try. Sam Fellows followed this up with a conversion to bring the scores to 5-7 at the end of the first half.
The second half started in much the same way with early exchanges from both sides. Six minutes in the Vale flay-half Sam Fellows left the field with a thigh injury prompting Dan Carter to move to fly-half with Aaron Hall as replacement. A further substitution was also made in quick succession in the Vale back row with Jordan Webb entering the field of play.
The opposition continued to increase pressure on the Vale defences with Vale giving away more penalties under pressure. A resultant kick to the corner from Corsham and following attack from the lineout ended with the home No.10 crossing the line for a try, converted by the No.15 bringing the score to 12-7 after 53mins of play.
The Vale scrummage started to become more dominant in the second half with some useful gains against the head and Vale started to turn the game to their advantage. Following another turnover and attacking play the Corsham Fly-Half was yellow carded for some foul play at 55mins resulting in further pressure being applied on the Corsham defences.
A penalty kick to the corner and subsequent advances to the Corsham line resulted in Alex Pugh crossing for another 5 points at 65mins, converted aptly by the stand in Fly Half Dan Carter to make the score 12-14.
It wasn’t long after the restart that Avonvale again attacked the Corsham defences and after some great individual skill, Charlie Holton crossed for another try on 70mins, again converted by Dan to make the score 12-21.
With the return to the field of the Corsham No.10, the game switched again with Corsham applying the early pressure after the restart and with only a few minutes of normal time remaining, Vale gave away another penalty resulting in Charlie Fellows receiving a yellow card for his actions.
The opposition continued to apply pressure from the penalty, eventually resulting in another well earned try to Corsham scored by the No.15 however the conversion was missed to leave the score
From the re-start the referee indicated another 10mins of extra time should be played but fortunately the Vale continued to apply pressure to the Corsham defences eventually being rewarded with a penalty kick in the 86th minute of play, slotted by Dan Carter to seal the game and first victory for the Vale.
Credit should go to both teams for a truly hard and physical encounter.
Final Score Corsham 17-24 Avonvale RFC.
The Referee was: Mr M. Hurn Dorset & Wilts Society
AVONVALE 22- combe down 27 - SAT 2nd oct.
Vale leave it too late with brave fightback...
Avonvale welcomed Combe Down to the Crown Field and on a very wet day credit must go to both teams for trying to play entertaining rugby.
First points went to Down as Josh Ridewood sprinted onto a short pass to score under the posts. Five minutes later Down were 10.0 up with a penalty. Vale came back at Down and fly half Sam Fellowes charged down an attempted clearance and touched down under the posts before converting his own try.
Down then started to cut loose and scored a well worked try from a scrum and then their winger danced round a few tackles near the touchline and dotted down to give Down a 22.10 half time lead.
Down started the second half and scored another try to give them a 27.10 lead .The Vale supporters were fearing a 40 point drubbing but the Vale team rose magnificently to the challenge and started to pressurise the Down defence. Winger, Carter cut through two tackles to score with Fellowes adding the extras.
Now with their tails up Vale strung together some great play and eventually got a penalty which they put into the corner. From the lineout Vale drove over the line with hooker Johnny Keepen getting the touchdown, the conversion from wide out was just missed to bring the scores to 22.27.
However hard they tried Vale could not get the vital score to draw them level and it was a much relieved Down side that greeted the final whistle.
We could have gone down by a lot of points early in the second half but the lads showed great determination to take the fight back to the opposition.
Vale coach,Dave George
AVONVALE 12- YEOVIL 13 - SATURDAY 25TH SEPT 2021
Avonvale played their first league game for over a year and a half and in their highest ever league position.
Having been promoted to Southern Counties South, the Vale welcomed Yeovil to the Crown Field and, although they took a while to get into the game, they were certainly not overawed by their opponents.
After a stalemate for the first 30 minutes where chances were few and far between Yeovil were first on the scoreboard. scoring a converted try through their winger.
Whilst Vale had their chances, they were unable to capitalise and the score remained the same at half time.
Shortly after the interval, Yeovil extended their lead with two penalties to give them a 13-0 lead.
With the Vale finally getting the pace of the game, they attacked the Yeovil line. From a lineout scrum-half Alex Pugh stole around the side of the ruck to score wide out. Crucially the conversion was missed.
The game was nip and tuck but with ten minutes to go the Vale had a lineout 5 metres from the Yeovil line. The Yeovil defence collapsed the driving maul and Vale were awarded a penalty try to bring them within one point.
Try as they might Vale could not gain the extra points and lost the game 13-12.
Coach's Notes: It took us a while to get the pace of the game and also to realise we had to work a lot harder in certain situations on the pitch but overall we are pleased with the way the lads stepped up and performed and although their is a lot to improve on we are confident of staying in this league.