On a pitch that by the end resembled a paddy field, both teams served up an enthralling encounter. Heavy rain at lunch time turned the ground into a quagmire but both teams stuck to their task and Bridgwater will be grateful for the second four point win in succession.
However, there was a downside. Just before half time they lost hooker, Matt Hastie, to what looked like a compound fracture at the base of his thumb and at the end, centre Will Kerry had to be helped from the field. They also lost Nick Spellissy to a red card – following two yellows for technical offences.
Clevedon had first use of the elements but it was the home side with early dominance. A great run by Bryan Webb, playing out of position on the wing gave them field position and it was left to Mr Reliable, fly half Stuart Heal, to kick a short-range penalty for the opening score.
Immediately, Clevedon hit back and when Bridgwater offended at a tackle, Mike Taylor equalised with a 35m penalty that went over after hitting the bar.
The Bridgwater pack put together a superb driving maul that went from halfway deep into the Clevedon 22 and when the ball was recycled, Bridgwater eventually scored through Ollie Dunn. Heal converted easily for a 10-3 lead.
From the kick-off, Bridgwater scored a try that would have been remarkable in good conditions let alone in those in evidence on the day. They ball was moved left and went through half a dozen pairs of hands before it reached Kerry for the second time on the visitors 10m line. He cruised through the visiting defence for a wonderful try converted by Heal.
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There was no further score before half time although Clevedon scorned three points by opting for a scrummage instead of a very kickable penalty.
Bridgwater changed into white shirts for the second half but to little avail as within ten minutes, the sides were again almost indistinguishable.
Despite being down to 14 men with Spellissy in the bin, Bridgwater started the half in control and Heal extended their lead with a short range penalty.
Indiscipline by Bridgwater – throwing the ball away at a lineout – cost them a penalty. Clevedon opted for a scrum and, following concerted pressure on the home line, eventually were credited with a try from second row Alex Giltrow converted by Taylor to narrow the gap to 18-10. Almost immediately another Heal penalty took the score to 21-10.
Much of the final quarter was played deep in the Bridgwater 22. Clevedon were awarded a series of penalties as Bridgwater defended dourly – I counted eight but there could have been more!
With five minutes to go, the referee lost patience with the home defence and gave Spellissy a second yellow card which equated to a red.
Clevedon thought they had scored with two minutes left but the referee awarded a penalty to Bridgwater under their own posts. A couple of good kicks and a spirited run by Joe Bussell out of defence meant there was no further scoring.
Bridgwater & Albion
Tries: Dunn, Kerry
Pens: Heal (3)