Camborne will feel themselves extremely fortunate to have come away from Bridgwater with a narrow victory.
Stuart Heal returned to the starting line-up following a training injury to Will Kerry as Bridgwater looked to upset high-flying Camborne. For much of the match, the home side looked likely every bit as good as their rivals and did not deserve their defeat.
It was only with the final move of the match, and with my stop watch showing well over 44 minutes had actually been played, that a Camborne driving maul – that bore more than a passing resemblance to a ‘truck and trailer’ move – was driven over the home line for James Goldsworthy to be credited with the winning score. David Mankee’s conversion was irrelevant as Camborne gained four points and Bridgwater’s scant reward was to scrape a single losing bonus point.
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Camborne were the first to score. Bridgwater’s Roger Drabble was caught in possession at the back of a scrum in his own 22. Camborne set up a driving maul and released the ball right for full back Joe Parma to score an unconverted try.
Bridgwater, as they often do, scorned a kickable penalty in the search for a try but the Camborne defence held out.
When visiting winger, Luke Johnson was sin-binned, Stuart Heal kicked a 25m angled penalty. He kicked very well all match, gaining a lot of ground from his kicks in open play.
Bridgwater threw everything into attack with Ashley Honeywell very prominent with ball in hand. However, they could not find the elusive break or defence-splitting pass and just before half time, Camborne increased their lead when Parma made the most of some weak tackles for his second unconverted try.
Early in the second half. Bridgwater again spurned a chance of three points but again failed to capitalise. Minutes later, Rob Allen made good ground before handing on to Nick Spellissy who scored near the posts. Heal’s conversion brought the scores level at 10-10.
Bridgwater’s attack seemed to lack pace as they tried in vain for the next score. Mankee was very generous to the home side by missing a couple of penalties but he then succeeded with a 40m attempt to retake the lead for the visitors.
Into injury time, Heal kicked another Bridgwater penalty, to the delight of the home fans, as Camborne offended at a ruck. Then came the decisive moment which could have an effect on the final league positions at each end of the table. Camborne were delighted to win but realised that they had been very, very lucky.
For referee, Brian Perry, it was a hard afternoon. When referee and players ran onto the field the referee discovered his shirt was very similar to Camborne’s and he had to return to his dressing room to change. It was not a good start and in my humble opinion, things got no better for him as the game wore on.
Bridgwater had not played well, according to coach Kevin Innalls, but deserved to at least draw the game. The pack were solid enough on their own ball and stole a line-out or two. However, some very pedantic refereeing saw many lines-out nullified when throws were judged not straight enough. The backs handled well but cannot seem to find the elusive pass that creates a try for a team-mate. One great area of improvement was kicking out of hand which in this game was very good in length and accuracy.
Having fallen back into the relegation zone, albeit by the narrowest of margins, Bridgwater need to win their game in hand next week – an Easter Saturday visit to Paignton, who sit below them in the table. The visit to fellow relegation candidates, Cleve, one week later will also be a ‘must win’ game for our side. Winning those two matches should ensure Bridgwater safe from relegation.
Bridgwater & Albion
Pens: Heal (2)
Tries: Parma (2), J. Goldsworthy
Bridgwater Starting Team: Stuart Heal, Joel Clark, Rob Allen, Ashley Honeywell, Arg Saliarelis, Dominik Griffin, Roger Drabble, James Bryant, Matt Hastie, Christian Preece, Matt Northey, Rob Thompson, Nick Spellissy, Ollie Dunn, Dan Kemmish (Capt)
Replacements (all used): Mitch Windsor (for Dunn 14), Lovejoy Chawatama (for Rob Thompson 57), Garryn Basson (for Roger Drabble 49)
Referee: Brian Perry (Somerset Society)
Match report by Tony Pomeroy, Photographs by Ben Pomeroy