Having led from the ninth minute of the game, Bridgwater managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when, deep into injury time, an abysmal attempted clearing kick, from the normally reliable Dominik Griffin, from their own 22 went straight up in the air.
Visiting skipper, James Carter, used his height to jump and take the ball and seconds later replacement prop, Matt Angel crashed over. Harry Roberts was ice cool with the conversion kick, the touch judges raised their flags and a couple of minutes later the final whistle sealed the win for North Petherton in front of a large and partisan crowd.
This was the archetypal ‘game of two halves’. Bridgwater totally dominated the first period. They camped in the North Petherton 22 and had enough possession to have won the game twice over. However, with a couple of exceptions, they did not take their chances.
They did take a deserved lead after nine minutes when young number 8, Chris Webber, burst through a couple of attempted tackles and crossed near the posts. Matt House converted with a drop kick.
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Roberts narrowed the gap with a 37m penalty but Bridgwater continued to control the game but were kept out by a resolute defence. North Petherton occasionally put the Bridgwater scrum under pressure and secured a couple of turn-overs. However, the home side deservedly increased their lead on the stroke of half time when influential centre, Rob Allen, finally broke through for an unconverted try and a half-time 12-3 lead.
Early in the second half, Allen was through again but called back, correctly, by the referee for crossing.
North Petherton became more dominant and Roberts burst through for a try that he then converted. With half an hour left, the game became a little fractious and Bridgwater were holding on by their fingernails as they defended for much of the half. North Petherton dominated possession and territory in a complete reversal of the first half.
The home side lost Allen to a recurrence of a knee injury for the final ten minutes.
However, the home win was not to come and North Petherton were gifted the final score to keep the local bragging rights. They should really have had this game sewn up by half time. Having said that, many of the former players watching were impressed with the team in the first half but all felt they must turn possession into points.
Next week, Bridgwater have another chance when they entertain Wadebridge Camels with a 3-00 pm kick off – a team already beaten by North Petherton this season. Bridgwater will undoubtedly be looking for a convincing victory.
Bridgwater & Albion
Tries: Webber, Allen
Tries: Roberts, Angel
Cons: Roberts (2)
Bridgwater Starting Team: James Brakes, Garryn Basson, Rob Allen, Matt House, Toby Payne, Dominik Griffin, Nick Francis, Matt Ruddle, Matt Hastie, James Bryant, Dan Kemmish (Capt), Rob Thompson, Nick Spellissy, Ollie Dunn, Chris Webber. Rolling Replacements (all used) : Gavin Knight, Matt Northey, Roger Drabble
Referee: Roger Gilson (Somerset Society)
Match report by Tony Pomeroy