Christopher Wilson at Old Brentwood’s Club


Looking to avenge last season’s crushing loss at Brentwood, the All Golds were unable to hang on to a slender 12-6 lead as the Eels scored with the final play of a tough, fiercely contested game that neither side in truth, deserved to lose, yet neither did enough to earn the win.

The game was locked at 6-6 at half time with Ed Tait’s close range try cancelling out the opening score from Brentwood’s Ollie Strange.

There was no further scoring until seven minutes from the end when Callum Merrett gave the All Golds the lead, but the Eels struck late through Connor Gascoigne to earn a point.


The Bristol All Golds had their 100% record ended by Brentwood Eels with the last play of an intensely physical game played in warm sunshine at Old Brentwood’s on Saturday, but were able to claim a draw and remain on the heels of the leaders in the Southern Conference League.

The Eels had led for much of a tight first half until Ed Tait scored for the All Golds just before the interval.

Callum Merrett’s re-introduction from the bench late in the second half brought dividends as he conjured a superb try from a chip over the defence with less than ten minutes remaining, but one last throw of the dice saw the Eels snatch a share of the spoils.

In truth, neither side produced enough to win the game but, by the same token, neither really deserved to lose either. Both sides’ defences gave very little away in what was an enthralling encounter.

The All Golds started strongly on the back of a string of early penalties as the referee set out his stall to clamp down on any tackle that contravened the new edict of tackling only at armpit height or below.

Merrett created the first opportunity, slicing through the Eels’ line in the second minute but his pass to the supporting Rume-Tabiowo went to ground. The All Golds continued looking for gaps in the home defence but were met with some stiff resistance.

As the half went on, the home side defended solidly, putting men into the tackle, and the All Golds simply could not break through. Play was condensed between the 20-metre lines until, after 18 minutes, the Eels made their first trip into the All Golds’ 20 after a good break from Callum Whitcombe followed by a strong carry from Eamon Tiernan. Ollie Strange broke a tackle and crossed near enough to the posts to make Whitcombe’s conversion a formality.

The sides continued to exchange possession until the half hour mark when the All Golds manged four back-to-back sets thanks mainly to the Eels’ indiscipline, which led first to a team warning for persistent offences and then ten minutes in the sin-bin for Harry Pyke who was first to infringe again moments later.

The All Golds took almost immediate advantage with Tait burrowing over from a play the ball close to the line. Darrion Ball added the goal to level the scores at 6-6.

That’s the way it remained at half time with the two teams seeking welcome shelter from the warm sunshine to prepare for what would be another fierce battle.

The second half kicked off with the All Golds conceding early penalties as the arm-wrestle continued. They also lost Henry Symons to the sin-bin as he reacted to a strong tackle and was sent to cool down on the sidelines for ten minutes.

However, the All Golds survived being a man down as despite further penalties going their way, the Eels could not build pressure as they frequently gave possession away cheaply early in their sets.

Symons’ return after a water break at three-quarter time opened up a period of play when the sides went set for set, blow for blow in the middle third of the field. As the game drew to a close, the tension began to build as both sides knew that the next score could easily be the winning one.

With 15 minutes remaining, the All Golds thought they had taken the lead. Merrett had returned from the bench after taking a knock earlier in the game and put in a neat chip over the line. The contest for possession saw Mason Ball grab the ball and touch town in the corner. However, the referee’s whistle had gone as there had been an All Golds’ knock-on in the tussle.

With ten minutes left, it was the All Golds’ turn to receive a team warning as the referee’s patience was tried just a little too much, however, they escaped further censure and with seven minutes remaining, produced one moment of pure skill to get their noses in front.

Merrett again put in a little chip and this time Rume-Tabiowo was first to the ball, catching and passing in one swift motion. Merrett took possession and beat the last defender to sprint round to the posts, making Darrion Ball’s conversion a formality.

The final seven minutes seemed to last an eternity as the Eels searched for the leveller.

Staunch All Golds defence stopped one encounter as the Eels were penalised for an incorrect play-the-ball almost under the All Golds’ posts.

However, the All Golds played out their set and kicked long. The Eels returned the ball, earned a six-again and broke through, Connor Gascoigne diving over by the posts. Whitcombe was nerveless with the missable conversion and the match ended all square at 12-12.

The result must have felt like a victory for the Eels but for the All Golds it felt a little like a defeat. However, after three games, they remain unbeaten and well in the hunt for a top four place at the end of the season.





EELSCallum Whitcombe; Ben Stokes, Georgie Treffers, Eamon Tiernan, James Fergus; George Harkins, Shea Cotter; Euan Tiernan, Connor Gascoigne, Jamie Impey (Capt); Harry Crellin, Oliver Strange; Harry Pyke; INTERCHANGE: Simon Wood, Charlie Pyke, Samuel Winney, Connor Huggins. 



Tries: Strange (18), Gascoigne (79)

Goals: Whitcombe 2 from 2.


ALL GOLDS: Oliver Winterbottom; Henry Symons, Darrion Ball, Mason Ball, Leon Atherton; Greg Hamilton, Callum Merrett; Ed Tait, Owen Priest, Chris Rees-Lloyd; Oghenetaga Rume-Tabiowo, Brandon Lamb (Capt.); Jack Uren; INTERCHANGE: Adam Turner, George Murray, Mike Harrison, Ben Cripps. (Travelling Reserve) Dom Williams.



Tries: Tait (33), Merrett (73)

Goals: D. Ball 2 from 2.


Scoring sequence: 6-0, 6-6, (HT), 6-12, 12-12, (FT)


Penalties: Eels 15-8 All Golds


Referee: Peter Hamer (RFL)


All Golds Player of the Match: Mason Ball was excellent on both sides of the ball. He consistently made metres after contact when in possession and stood out as a solid tackler throughout a game that had more than its share of solid tackles.