Match Report by Tony Pomeroy
Bridgwater entertained National League side, Exmouth, on Thursday evening. With a two league difference between the sides, the visitors would expect to win. However, the visitors were somewhat flattered by the score line as Bridgwater spent much of the game in the Exmouth half and also edged the possession.
With both sides below full strength, the game was an opportunity for younger players to shine.
Exmouth opened the scoring after seven minutes. They won a scrum on the half way line and moved the ball right. An early tackle attempt was missed creating a gap for right wing Matt Garner to show an impressive turn of speed and get the opening try in the corner. Rich Caddywood converted with an excellent kick.
Bridgwater then exerted concerted pressure on the Exmouth line but were unable to score.
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It took until the 32nd minute for Exmouth to increase their lead. Following Exmouth pressure, Bridgwater were penalised close to their own line and visiting scrum half, Garry Hooper, took a quick tap and crashed over. Caddywood again converted.
On the stroke of half time, full back, Andrew Powell, who had proved a lively runner throughout the game, caught the home side napping with a quickly taken penalty near halfway and ran through to score the third try. Caddywood’s conversion attempt hit the post.
With both sides taking advantage of unlimited rolling replacements there was only one score in the second half. Midway through, an excellent flowing move left by the visitors saw left wing Tom Hodge score in the corner. Collywood again hit the post with his conversion to leave the final score 0-24.
The game was well controlled by Brian Perry who gave the players scope to perform and wisely kept his yellow card in his pocket on a couple of occasions when, in league rugby, it would have been brandished.
Both sides will have learned from the game. Bridgwater showed a lot of spirit but have to learn to turn pressure into points. The visitors certainly gave them a lesson in finishing but there is promise for the future. However, they will be hit by injuries to Rob Allen, who missed this game and Roger Drabble, who went to hospital with an arm injury. On the credit side, they will have been impressed with Jon Hill, who had an excellent game at scrum half.
With the new scrummage engagement laws, Bridgwater managed to steal a couple of scrums against the head but teams are already looking for ways to nullify the new binding laws. Surprisingly, Bridgwater’s usually reliable line out malfunctioned on the night with far too many throws lost.
Bridgwater gave some game time to a guest player, Josh Clark, brother of Joel, who looked a class act. Unfortunately, he lives and works in London and whilst he would like to play for B&A, simple logistics are against it.
Exmouth Tries: Garner, Hooper, Powell, Hodge
Cons: Caddywood (2)
Bridgwater Starting XV
Nick Francis, Garryn Basson, Joel Clark, Matt House, James Brakes, Ashley Honeywell, Jon Hill, Lovejoy Chawatama, Matt Hastie, Gary Saunders, Ali Blundell, Rob Thompson, Tayler Buller, Joe Stradling, Dan Kemmish (Capt)
Referee: Brian Perry (Somerset Society)