Before this match, something had to give......
By Steve Bird
Avon were defending their unbeaten home record at Hicks Field which stretches back over a year. Meanwhile table-toppers Wiveliscombe had an unblemished 100% winning record in the league this season.
Fittingly, the game proved to be a tense, closely contested affair between two well-balanced teams, with Avon emerging victorious by 17 points to 13. At the midpoint of the Somerset Premier season, this leaves Wivey at the top at the table with just this one defeat whilst Avon move up into 2nd place.
The visitors played the first half with a strong wind on their backs and opened the scoring with a try from their first attack to take a 5 nil lead. Avon were unusually struggling at scrum time against a powerful pack but played the conditions brilliantly by keeping the ball tight and maintaining possession for long periods of time.
They also used their superior line out to full effect and levelled the scores after 10 mins with a trademark catch and drive try from the industrious Ian Burnell. 10 minutes later, Avon took the lead when powerful centre Tom Boreham crashed over for a close range try.
Wivey focussed on playing a one-out game, feeding their big runner on the charge and cut the lead with a penalty from George Rowe. Then shortly before half time, Avon scored their third try when Ben Hurd was driven over for a 17-8 lead at the interval.
Turning round with the advantage of the gusty wind behind them, Avon should have stretched away but Wivey instead enjoyed the lion's share of possession in the 2nd half but were repelled by the outstanding home team defence. As a result, both sides largely cancelled each other out for much of the half as the match was played mostly in the middle of the pitch.
Then the game sparked into life as it moved towards injury time as Avon had two players sinbinned in quick succession. This allowed Wivey to eventually start to find some space in what had seemed like an unbreakable defence until that time.
Finally the pressure told 5 minutes into injury time as fly half Rowe dummied through to score their 2nd try. This set up a frantic last few minutes as Avon’s 13 men heroically managed to hold out for to deny Wivey an unlikely win.
Whilst Kane Book was presented with the Cashnella man-of-the-match award, coach Kai Harwood was quick to praise the all-round efforts of the whole squad in achieving this outstanding victory.
Next Saturday Avon have a blank weekend but return to action on Wednesday 19th December when they host close neighbours Avonvale in the Bath Combination Vase with a 7pm kick off under lights.