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Team ‘heartbroken’ over playoff defeat after ‘season to be proud of’

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After a very successful season for the Frome RFC 1st and having only lost two games and securing second place in Southern Counties South league, Frome RFC welcomed Buckingham RFC to Gypsy Lane for the Southern Counties play offs anticipating a close encounter. Sadly Frome’s dreams of promotion were dashed with a 10 points to 23 defeat. 

Trevor Osborne reports, “After being led out with members of the Frome RFC Mini and Junior section and huge cheers, the game kicked off in front of a crowd of 400 plus and for the first 10 minutes both sides were feeling their way in the game. 

“However Frome then started to gain the ascendancy with the strong wind in their favour and with their scrum gaining the upper hand due to a massive forward effort lead by joint man of the matches Aaron Blaney and George Benstead. 

“After 20 mins the home side turned this into points when No.8 Alex Mallon picked up from the back of a scrum to score a try which was converted by James Howard. 

“Frome’s lead was extended to 10 points when Howard converted a penalty shortly after. Unfortunately the home side could not increase the lead further before half time. 

“The second half started with both sides enjoying periods of domination but no further points were scored in the first 20 minutes.

“Buckingham then started to gain the momentum as the visiting fly half used the wind to pin Frome back in there own half and despite stout defence lead by the back row of Ross Toten, Alex Mallon and replacement Cameron Hastie, the visitors got their first points through a penalty. 

“They continued to press the Frome line and the Buckingham 10 eventually found a gap to score a converted try. Frome knew that the next score would be important; however it came from a Buckingham penalty. Frome pressed hard to regain the lead but the visitors turned defence into attack and in the last 5 mins scored two unconverted tries to give them a 10 – 23 victory. 

“Despite the loss it has been a season to be proud of for the Gypsy Lane team and they will look to build on this in the future.”

The Frome RFC man of the match, sponsored by The Old Bath Arms went to Props Aaron Blaney and George Benstead.

Frome RFC Head Coach Toby Culff said, “First and foremost, this was an amazing day for the club and for this incredible group of players. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd like it at The Lane, and I can’t recall having ever felt the same atmosphere and sense of occasion. 

“Massive thanks must go out to everyone who attended and contributed – supporters, staff and volunteers. This was a day to be very proud of Frome RFC, both on and off the field. 

“The players and coaches were heartbroken by the result. There aren’t words to describe the disappointment. Unfortunately, the final assessment must be that we weren’t quite good enough on the day. Not quite. The scoreline doesn’t tell the full story and the difference between the two sides was very, very small, but we must be honest with ourselves and recognise that we’re not quite ready for the leap to Level 6. 

“We’re not far away, though, and we’re determined to improve and to be ready next season. 

“This experience will make us stronger and even more ambitious. We want more days like this one! I have to finish by thanking the players. They’ve been an inspiration to me this season and I’m hugely proud of them. What they’ve achieved is genuinely remarkable and I hope they’ll reflect on it with enormous satisfaction. 

“This group is going to get better and better, and I’ve no doubt they’ll win a league title soon. I’d urge everyone who watched them last Saturday to support them again next year.”

The end of season awards dinner was also held on Saturday 27th April with the awards going to:

1st Team: Player of The Year: Phil Meenan. Players’ Player: Rob James. Top Points Scorer: James Howard. Most Improved: James Howard.

2nd Team: Player of the Year: Loukas Ives. Players’ Player: James Milton. Most Improved: Ben Eley.

3rd Team: Player of the Year: Steven Ruddick. Players’ Player: Jamie Smith. Most Improved: Alex Twigger.

Special Awards: Trainer of the Year: Ben Eley. Rookie of the Year:  Rob Sully. Clubman of the Year: Cameron Hastie.

The evening also saw the Frome RFC 2nd XV captain Dean Marshall and his squad awarded the Wadworth 6X Dorset and Wilts 2 North League Champions trophy.

More pictures – see page 28

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