In a game littered with stoppages and lasting almost two hours from kick off to the final whistle, Paignton bounced back from last week’s home defeat and produced yet another home defeat for Bridgwater.
Bridgwater were missing the suspended Garryn Basson but welcomed back Matt House, Nick Spellissy and Chris Webber and, in an effort to solve the season long problem at loose-head prop, gave a league debut to Gary Saunders.
Paignton had almost unlimited possession early in the first half and it was almost four minutes before Bridgwater got hands on the ball. The visitors took a very early lead through an Andy Sandercock penalty and followed it up with a try for Mark Palk, converted by Sandercock.
After less than a quarter of an hour, Bridgwater lost winger Toby Payne to an ankle injury and he was replaced by Rhys Owen. The home side began to exert some pressure in the visiting 22 but failed to turn that pressure into points.
Bridgwater’s comeback into the game was halted when a somewhat telegraphed long pass on their own 10m line was intercepted by visiting fly half, Sam Poustie, who had an easy run to the try line. Sandercock converted easily.
On the stroke of half time, Ollie Dunn gave the home team hope with a determined run along the touchline from halfway. Despite many attempted tackles, including one around the neck just short of the line, he scored a magnificent individual try in the corner. Matt House converted with a superb kick.
The second half was a drab affair with Bridgwater having the territorial edge. Both sides rang the changes with replacements before Sandercock missed a very kickable penalty.
Forward exchanges warmed up a little and Val Chirita and Gavin Knight were yellow carded for fighting.
With ten minutes left, Dunn narrowed the gap with a second try, converted by House. Moments later, Bridgwater lost the ball in their own 22 and Chris Hallet sealed the game with a try converted by Sandercock.
Paignton No 8 Josh Theophanides was red carded in the final minute for a tip tackle. House attempted the resulting long range penalty which would have given Bridgwater a losing bonus point but his effort was just short.
Bridgwater would have targeted this as a must win game and will have been very disappointed to have, once again, not received any reward for their efforts. They will take heart from the performance of Ollie Dunn, an International hooker, converted to flanker and now playing at centre. Bridgwater were very solid in the line out but scrummages were under some pressure. The backs tried hard but overall there were far too many unforced errors – poor passes, dropped balls missed tackles and aimless kicks.
One rare feature of the game was seeing the visiting touch judge much more interested in using his mobile phone throughout the game than fulfilling his touch judge role. The league expects clubs to provide a competent person to run touch – but this was not evident today.
no images were found
Next week, Bridgwater visit Oldfield Old Boys who are one of the two teams below them in the league table. The next home game is in two weeks when Thornbury will be the visitors in a game sponsored by The Friends of Bridgwater & Albion.
Bridgwater & Albion
Tries: Dunn (2)
Cons: House (2)
Tries: Palk, Poustie, Hallet
Cons: Sandercock (3)
Bridgwater & Albion starting team:
Nick Francis, James Brakes, Matt House, Ollie Dunn, Toby Payne, Ashley Pippard, Dominik Griffin, Gary Saunders, Matt Hastie, James Bryant, Dan Kemmish (Capt), Rob Thompson, Nick Spellissy, Luke De Sylva, Chris Webber
Rolling replacements all used: Gavin Knight, Matt Northey, Rhys Owen
Referee: Roger Gilson (Somerset Society)
Match report by Tony Pomeroy