Match Report by Tony Pomeroy
This was yet another game of two halves. St. Austell dominated the first period with the aid of the breeze, building up a commanding 0-19 lead. This was increased by a penalty at the start of the second period before Bridgwater came back into the game. The home side gradually chipped away at the visitors lead but could only gain a bonus point for losing by less than seven points.
In the opening minutes, visiting skipper Andy Ashwin was wide with a 45m penalty and then the visitors dropped the ball over the home line. After 12 min, Ian Venner grabbed a pass that looked suspiciously forward and scored the opening try converted by Ashwin.
Almost immediately, Bridgwater shot themselves in the foot with an aimless kick that went almost straight up in the air. St Austell made the most of it and Alex Welland got the second try again converted by Ashwin.
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Bridgwater fought back and despite exerting pressure on the visitors line, could not score.
Just before half time, Rob Allen broke through for Bridgwater but was stopped short and visiting flanker Paul Winterbottom was yellow carded. Deep in first half injury time, Bridgwater contrived to lose the ball in midfield and replacement prop, Jamie Holloway, scored a short-handed and unconverted try to give the visitors a 0-19 interval lead.
It got worse for Bridgwater as they were penalised straight from the kick off and Ashwin kicked a 30m penalty.
Bridgwater then woke up. LJ Chawatama broke clear down the left touch line but was adjudged to have put his foot in touch just before touching down before Stuart Heal landed a 26m penalty to open Bridgwater’s account.
After 10 minutes, St. Austell’s Adam Pearce was sent to the bin for a very nasty-looking challenge on Rob Allen who needed lengthy treatment. However, he had the last laugh as minutes later, when St. Austell lost the ball in midfield, he hacked through and seemed very fortunate to be awarded a try as he dived for a rolling ball. Heal converted easily.
The second half seemed to consist of the referee awarding Bridgwater penalties galore – they had 13 in this half alone. When Venner became the third visitor in the sin bin, the crowd queried why a penalty try had not been awarded for a deliberate knock on close to his own line and with Bridgwater players queuing up to score.
With ten minutes remaining, Arg Saliarelis wriggled over in the corner and Heal converted with a wonderful kick from the touchline to bring Bridgwater within five points.
In the dying seconds, the crowd all thought that Ollie Dunn had scored for Bridgwater but the referee ruled, rightly, that the ball had not been grounded properly. And so yet another win had eluded the Somerset side, a feature that is becoming all too familiar this season.
Bridgwater & Albion
Tries: Allen, Saliarelis
Cons : Heal (2)
Tries: Venner, Welland, Holloway
Cons: Ashwin (2)