This was a game that Bridgwater would have targeted as a home win but it was not to be as the Cornish side generally out-muscled the Somerset side. Bridgwater lost a number of scrums against the head and could not cope with Wadebridge throwing to the tail of the line-out, where the visitors reigned supreme. Twice also, Bridgwater failed to find touch from a penalty kick thus putting themselves under enormous pressure.
Wadebridge withstood a determined Bridgwater second half onslaught, when the home side scored 20 points in only thirteen minutes, to run out worthy winners. Wadebridge took a four try bonus point whilst Bridgwater got nothing out of the game. This was the third home match lost by Bridgwater this season.
Bridgwater rang the changes trying to ease the pressure on players carrying injuries and even used assistant coach Simon Martin at inside centre.
Wadebridge opened the scoring as early Bridgwater defensive errors saw visiting prop Richard Trelevan score an unconverted try after seven minutes.
A good break by Nick Francis put Bridgwater on the offensive but they had to be satisfied with a 35m penalty from Matt House.
Wadebridge increased their lead with a 5m line-out move that saw skipper, Sam Stone score in the corner. James Grubb converted with an excellent kick.
Bridgwater were finding the decisions of referee, Brian Perry, very difficult to understand, none more so than the penalty awarded for offside following a knock-on. This was the first of four times during the game the home side were marched back after questioning the referee’s decisions. The players had my sympathy.
The final score of the half saw Bridgwater lose a scrum feed and Wadebridge put together a good move that saw Will Pengelly’s try and Grubb’s conversion give then a deserved 3-19 interval lead.
Early in the second half, Bridgwater narrowed the gap when, following a break by Nick Francis from a quickly-taken penalty on half way, Toby Payne got an unconverted try.
Camel’s flanker Miles Davey was sent to the sin bin for an attempted head-butt – another incredulous decision as such an action – even if the head butt is slight – should result in an mandatory red card. As Bridgwater were in total control when Wadebridge were down to fourteen men, it was a decision that could have affected the final result.
Matt Hastie then stole a loose ball and started a sequence that saw Rob Thompson score an excellent try converted by House who, perhaps benefiting from coaching from former Bridgwater star Nick, Edmonds, then added a 35m penalty.
Almost immediately, Bridgwater took the lead when Ollie Dunn, fielding a poor clearing kick on half way, broke through the Camels defence to score an unconverted try and give the home side the lead at 23-19.
With Bridgwater then dominant, the game should have been made safe but again questioning the referee’s decisions cost Bridgwater dearly as they were marched back 10m on more than one occasion.
To their credit, Camels did not buckle and came back hard at Bridgwater. They exerted pressure on the Bridgwater line and despite butchering two 5m scrums kept up the pressure. It was no surprise when hooker, Matt Ballard crossed in the corner to record a four try bonus point and to regain the lead by one point.
It was then Bridgwater’s turn to attack but when they lost the ball in the visiting 22, Wadebridge snapped it up and moved it quickly to Dom Hawkey who outpaced the defence in a 60m sprint to the corner.
Grubb missed both conversions but a coolly-taken dropped goal from 20m sealed the win and denied Bridgwater a losing bonus point.
Bridgwater will be desperately disappointed to have ended the game pointless but hopefully they will learn how to close out games and keep the ball in hand.
Next week, Bridgwater visit East Devon for a match at Sidmouth when they will be looking for their second away win of the season.
Bridgwater & Albion
Tries: Payne, Thompson, Dunn
Pens: House (2)
Tries: Trelevan, Stone, Pengelly, Ballard, Hawkey
Cons: Grubb (2)
Dropped Goal: Grubb
Bridgwater Starting Team: James Brakes, Garryn Basson, Simon Martin, Matt House, Toby Payne, Rhys Owen, Nick Francis, Matt Ruddle, Gavin Knight, James Bryant, Dan Kemmish (Capt), Rob Thompson, Luke De Sylva. Ollie Dunn, Chris Webber.
Rolling replacements all used: Matt Hastie, Nick Spellissy, Dominik Griffin
Referee: Brian Perry (Somerset Referees Society)
Match report by Tony Pomeroy