TWO cards on the hour changed the course of Lydney’s visit to second-placed Chew Valley.

A strong south westerly combined with heavy rain made playing conditions difficult, but the hosts, second in the table managed the better to run out winners in what remained a tight game for an hour, writes Roger Pike.

Lydney had not played since mid-December and struggled in the opening quarter for any real possession but were always in the game and certainly had their chances in the second half to even win the game.

However, the game totally changed and momentum switched to the hosts following a red and yellow card for Lydney on the hour mark who were soon reduced to 12 by the uncontested scrum rule.

The hosts took full advantage of the reduced numbers to clinically score a couple of quick tries to make the game safe.

The heavy rain arrived just on kick off and, with both sides making handling errors, it was the hosts who started to dominate possession in the opening quarter.

The Severnsiders’ defence held solid with some numerous tackles from Fowke, McClean, Downer, Williams, and Locke in particular.

Using the strong wind the hosts kept Lydney in their own half with some good kicks but never looked like breaking the Lydney line.

It took a penalty from Tom Bryan to open the scoring, followed by another to make it 6-0.

The Severnsiders finally started to put some moves together and got downfield winning a penalty which went wide on the strong wind.

Back on the attack the visitors got another penalty, and this time Jake Hanley made no mistake for 6-3.

The hosts’ pressure soon told again and another Bryan penalty moved the score to 9-3.

Lydney were creating some good field positions which often came to nothing following lost line out ball in the difficult conditions.

Right on half-time, Bryan knocked over another penalty to end the half 12-3.

Lydney lost hooker Harrison Fowke to injury and Rob White came on as the visitors started brightly in the second period following the half-time team talk.

Winning a lineout on half-way they switched quickly to the blind side where Sami Hamid collected a pass to skilfully beat two tackles and then outpace the Chew defence to touch down in the corner to put the Severnsiders back in the game at 12 – 8.

Lydney continued to look dangerous with both wingers Hamid and Brad Dunn having good opportunities.

Lydney had another good attack with numerous forward drives close to the line from Winter, Spencer and Downer all being stopped short.

With the scrum solid, the visitors were well in a now open and even game.

However, the match totally changed just after the hour mark. A good break by Chew saw the winger kick ahead but then tackled by full back Alex Nelmes without the ball. A mass brawl then followed with all 30 players involved.

When order was restored, Olle Locke was sent off with a yellow card for Jack Spencer – the hosts going unpunished. 

Chew, using their experience, kicked to the corner and despite some heroic defence by Dean Brooker they eventually scored and with Bryan adding the extras to move the lead on to 19-8. 

At the next scrum with no front row replacement available, Liam Downer had to leave the field under the rules of uncontested scrums and the Severnsiders were down to 12. 

The hosts now clinical against just 12 piled on the pressure and soon scored again at which point the official decided to end the match early at 26 -8.  

Director of Rugby Sam Arnott said: “A frustrating day but we will bounce back in a tough month playing away at Weston next week followed by a home game against table toppers Camborne, then ending the month away with a local derby against Old Centralians. 

“Whilst we are in the top half of the table in our first season at this level it will be important to continue our good first half of the season.” 

Lydney: Gareth Winter, Harrison Fowke, Jack Spencer (c), Mike Massey, Phil Williams, Joe McClean, Liam Downer, Jordan Fowke, Tom Broady, Jake Hanley, Sami Hamid, Olle Locke, Henry Sleeman, Brad Dunn, Alex Nelmes. Replacements Luke Hudson, Rob White, Sam Arnott