Frome wrap it up
By Nick Rance
High flying Frome showed why they are second placed in the table and had this one wrapped up by half-time
Playing route one rugby, they took advantage once again of their powerful forward line and profited from some indifferent defending at times from the visitors. The first half from Thatcham was a fairly lacklustre affair, not wholly explained by the absence of key players, Thorogood and Browne. But, as in the previous fixture between these two sides, Frome enjoyed most of the possession and Thatcham were careless at times, adding self-inflicted pressure with poor kicks and some wayward passes. It was all the more disappointing for the visitors, coming on the back of three good wins.
Frome are one of the few sides to match Thatcham in the scrums and made good progress despite the attentions of the likes of Jamie Evans, this week’s Newbury Building Society man of the match, Matt Langdon, Derek Allan and Chris Dixon, who put in some big hits between them. But the home side signalled their intent within three minutes with the first score and added three more tries and two conversions before 25 minutes had elapsed to close out the game well before half-time with a 24 – 0 lead.
Losing Apperley to injury after twenty minutes was a blow for Thatcham, but they enjoyed a better final ten minutes and Charlie Lutterloch, who always looked lively, had a good run deep into Frome territory. Thatcham’s chances were limited to two attempted interceptions and a two on one, which should have been put away had the pass materialised. Marty Butler had a good run from deep, this week playing at full back, and Thatcham were attacking up to 5 metres when the whistle signalled the end of the half.
Frome extended their lead immediately from the re-start and went further ahead with less than ten minutes gone as Thatcham pressed the self-destruct with a clearance kick charged down in the dead ball area, to make it 36 – 0 with fifty minutes played. It looked like there could be a cricket score, but to the visitors’ credit they managed to turn things round in the final quarter, although not before a pitch long dash from Derek Allan saved their blushes with a try saving tackle with barely 5 metres left to the line. But Thatcham somehow fought their way out of defence and started to get more consistent possession as the game entered the last quarter.
Thatcham started to secure penalties and made some decent yardage as Frome picked up a yellow card. Apperley was able to return and took line out ball for the catch and drive, grounded by Chris Dixon. The visitors’ line out was working well and helped secure two further scores, the first after Kanaar-Brown fed Tingle to go down the line for Nick Rance to convert out wide. With five minutes left Thatcham got over the line and were awarded a 5 metres scrum, won another penalty and moved it to Sam Smith to break the line for the score and conversion from Lutterloch.
A final score of 36 – 17 added some respectability and was a fair reflection of an improved second half performance from Thatcham, but they’ll be tested again next week with a tough home fixture against local rivals, Grove.