Match report by Tony Pomeroy
Bridgwater put the disappointments of the past three weeks behind them as they dominated much of the play against the league’s bottom team. They welcomed back Rob Allen into the centre and LJ Chawatama at loose head prop with Joe Bussell and Nick Francis dropping out from last week’s team.
Morning rain had relented giving perfect conditions for rugby. Bridgwater kicked off and started applying pressure that continued for much of the first half.
Having missed two early difficult chances, the league’s top scorer by a long way, Stuart Heal, opened the scoring with a 22m penalty after 12 minutes. Following some patient recycling, he also converted a try by Ali Blundell before hitting the post with another penalty attempt.
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Visiting winger, Alan Wheller, was yellow carded after 24 minutes and immediately, home speedster, Joel Clark broke through and chipped ahead. The defence made a hash of the kick and dropped the ball. Clark re-gathered and sprinted through to score an unconverted try.
Bridgwater were delighting the crowd by playing some good rugby and Ollie Dunn, a live wire throughout the game, increased their lead with another unconverted try.
The bonus point try duly arrived when Rob Allen gathered the ball deep in his own 22 and to the delight of the crowd tore through virtually the whole of the visiting team and ran almost the length of the field to score under the posts. Heal converted for a lead of 27-0.
On the stroke of half time, Coney Hill were awarded a very kickable penalty but Craig Holder pulled it wide.
Coney Hill started the second half much better and spent much of the first twenty minutes in the Bridgwater half without scoring. It gave the Bridgwater players an opportunity to show their defensive skills. Midway through the half, visiting second row Alex Walters became the second Coney Hill player to be yellow carded. Almost immediately, Allen made them pay by breaking through from about 30 metres for his second try, converted by Heal.
The third yellow card, this time for Bridgwater’s replacement, Joe Bussell was one of several strange decisions by visiting London Society referee, David Jones, who also surprised the coaches and the crowd with his timekeeping. The first half stopwatch time was 44.41 minutes and the second half was 46.03 minutes with the game not ending until 4.50pm.
The final score came just after Bussell returned to the field. Dunn broke through from half way and beat a tiring defence to score under the posts. Heal’s conversion left the final score at 41-0 and put Bridgwater in good heart for the short trip to North Petherton next Saturday.
The coaches and players will be pleased not only with the result but the way it was achieved. The pack was very strong, often driving Coney Hill back in the scrums. The lineout was secure and very little loose ball was lost. The running with ball in hand was more decisive than of late and the teamwork and handling brought noisy appreciation from the crowd which included our latest casualty, Rob ‘Dolphin’ Thompson who suffered a fracture/dislocation of his ankle at Clevedon last week.
Bridgwater & Albion
Tries: Allen (2), Dunn (2), Blundell, Clark
Cons: Heal (4)
Bridgwater Team: Ash Honeywell, Joel Clark, Rob Allen, Matt House, Arg Saliarelis, Stuart Heal, Sam Knights, LJ Chawatama, Matt Hastie, James Bryant, Dan Kemmish (Capt), Ali Blundell, Tayler Buller, Ollie Dunn, Nick Spellissy.
Reps all used: Joe Bussell, Joe Stradling, Will Kerry
Referee: David Jones (London Society)