Painswick managed to stay just inches above the relegation zone with a well-deserved and hard fought win against local rivals Minchinhampton this week at home at Broadham Fields watched by a big crown of partisan supporters.


After a slow start with both sides cancelling out each other, the contest became a clear one, between Minch’s tough scrummaging, and the wider back play that Painswick threatened all day long, but which misfired throughout the first half.


In the end, the deadlock was broken by some quick thinking by man of the match Oli Hall, at scrum half for Painswick, who halfway through the first half took a quick tap penalty and ran at the heart of the Minch defence.  Just as he slid between the last two players, both of them got hands on him, and he flipped the ball one handed to winger Paul Jones, to scuttle over in the left corner for a 5 – 0 lead.


Painswick then proceeded to butcher chance after chance, with centre Jake Saunders cursing the cold and his numb hands, as he picked great lines running off centre Oz Gidley and fly half Craig Mayo, only to spill the ball on 3 separate occasions, when clean line breaks were on.


Minchinhampton played to their strengths, with a game based on tackling, hard scrummaging and the odd turn-over, but no real wide game to speak off. It seemed inevitable when Minch finally got into the Painswick half that they would try for the pushover, and instead, after the referee awarded 3 scrummaging penalties, took the lead with a penalty try, 5 -7.


After half time these themes continued to play out, with Painswick conceding the ball to Minchinhampton for large parts of the game, and living off scraps, but with some determined running, keeping the ball as far away from the Painswick try line, so there was no chance of a repeat. It was Painswick who broke the deadlock when Hall went through a gaping hole on halfway around the base of a ruck and went within 5 meters of the Minchinhampton line. After he was pulled down Minch infringed at the ruck and Hall took an instant tap penalty, stepped around one man and reached the line with one arm at full stretch and a 12-7 lead.


For the next 20 minutes Minchinhampton again had 80% of the ball, and if not for the 5 lineout turnovers from Painswick’s towering line-out jumper Callum Abbot, would probably have taken the lead and put the game out of sight. And yet Minchinhampton, whenever they were awarded a penalty kept kicking for a lineout that common sense told them they would lose.


However, the inevitable happened 5 minutes from time when Minchinhampton got close the Painswick red zone, and did what they do best. After an immense series of scrums, when the Painswick front 5 held the line like their lives depended upon it, the referee decided that a wheeling scrum was due to a Painswick infringement and once again reached for his whistle to award a second penalty try.


But Painswick, famous in past years for its dog-like never say die attitude, chased the kick-off and isolated the full back in possession, creating a turnover, and a Painswick scrum put in.


This was one scrum that Painswick had to win, and Minchinhampton were left grasping at straws when replacement Steve Andrews came into the line from left wing on a switch with fly half Mayo, sliding behind the Minch defensive line and then racing all the way to the line and under the posts for a famous 19-14 win.


The win was sweet revenge for an earlier away defeat at Minch, and now means that Painswick has three wins under its belt and has started to open up a gap between them and the two teams beneath them at the bottom of the Gloucester League II. They are not quite out of relegation trouble yet, but it was a step in the right direction.



Painswick RFC took until November the 5th to produce any fireworks this year, but it was well worth the wait. Playing as much for the memory of long term player and club sponsor Billy Partridge, who died last week, as much as for their pride – Painswick finally laid the ghost of consistent defeat to rest, and won their first League game in 2 seasons, taking them out of the Gloucester Division 2 relegation zone for the first time this season.

Away at Bristol Aeroplane (BAC), Painswick took to the field in black armbands to salute their fallen comrade who had died last week in a vets’ game, and a 1 minute’s silence was followed by 80 screamingly loud minutes as the “dog” in the Painswick team came to life. For long periods it was not a pretty game, punctuated by tough, head-on hits, from both teams, and marred by penalties at the breakdown on both sides, as well as a string of handling errors, which denied BAC the early lead, and later denied them a foothold at the end of the game.

The first half was made up of a series of BAC attacks, as they played down a stiff hill, but all of their attacks broke on a firm Cherry and White line of defence. Two or three times centres Gidley-Smith and Williams, looked to go outside their opposite numbers, but each time the BAC scramble defence held and often as not the BAC flankers turned the ball over to add insult to injury. Two or three times it was the Painswick front five who the saved the day, turning over tight ball at the scrum strikes against the head. On one lineout on their 5-meter line Painswick stood off BAC, and were luckily awarded a technical infringement from an overeager BAC team, otherwise BAC would have bene on level terms.

On one Painswick thrust through the centres, the ball came back from a ruck to Fly Half Mayo on the halfway line, kicking cross field for right winger Marshall, who leaped into the air, taking the ball cleanly above the head of his opposing winger. He landed, rolled, threw off the covering tackle and took the ball to within meters of the opposition line. From the ensuing ruck BAC stole the ball, but walked it out on their 5-meter line, for a lineout to Painswick.

Hooker Coombs threw short, and Jeffries rose to secure the ball and set a driving maul. BAC tried in vain to pull it down and Painswick drove over the line for Coombs to score and for Mayo to add the conversion for a 7-point lead.

In the excitement of scoring first in a game, Painswick failed to concentrate at the kick off and on the stroke of half time, went offside at a ruck for BAC to kick 3 and turn around 3-7 to Painswick.

In the second half BAC failed to clear their lines from the kick off down the hill and a soft penalty to Painswick allowed Mayo to slot the kick to put 7 points between the teams once more at 3-10.

Complacency got into Painswick at this stage and they failed to put their hands on the ball for 15 minutes, losing 7 straight lineouts and were unable to threaten the opposition scrum any more. Coombs left the field with a head injury and BAC, playing up the hill, sat stubbornly in the Painswick half. One effort on the left saw the BAC winger go over the line unopposed, but he had put a foot into touch and was brought back. Sterling efforts by Neil Church on the left wing saw him take out the BAC scrum half man and ball at three consecutive rucks in Painswick’s 22, but the pressure had to tell in the end and BAC finally went over in the corner after a barrage of forward surges. They missed the kick for a tense 8-10 score line.

Painswick began to play themselves back into the game and with three scintillating clearance kicks Mayo took play down the hill into the BAC 22, and on one occasion three chasing Painswick backs were each forced to make scything low tackles to prevent BAC running the ball back out.

Now it was Painswick’s turn to sit on the opposition 22, and after several forward drives, the ball was spun wide against a depleted BAC defence, but it looked to be well defended when the final pass went behind winger Church.  But he went back for it, stepped inside his winger, accelerated away and reached out with one arm to dot down as the covering BAC centre tackled him, for the 8-15 final score line.


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