Match report by Tony Pomeroy.
Bridgwater’s regular pack were decimated by injury and non-availability for this trip to Cornwall. The players who came in could not be faulted for effort but the Camborne pack laid the foundations for this comprehensive victory.
Bridgwater had hoped to complete the double over Camborne this season but were always on the back foot. Bridgwater brought prop, Scott Woolford onto the bench for his league debut and gave rare starts to Gary Saunders and George Sluman with Ollie Dunn in the number 2 shirt instead of his normal number 7.
The weather for the game was appalling – a very strong wind diagonally across the pitch accompanied by driving rain for the second half.
Bridgwater had first use of the elements and exerted early pressure without really looking like scoring. Camborne used the ‘pick and drive’ to retain possession and their dominance was emphasised by what to my eyes looked like very inefficient refereeing from local level 7 standard referee, Ryan Cook, being tried out on this level 6 game. His inefficiency extended to an error on the results card where he credited Camborne with 6 tries when they actually only scored 5.
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The home side made one superb break involving scrum half, David Mankee and full back, Joe Parma, that moved play some 60m but the visiting defence held out.
The boot was on the other foot when scrum half Roger Drabble snaffled a loose ball in mid field and released Nick Francis – playing his final game before leaving for a year in Australia. Francis was tackled just short of the home line in an incident that saw home flanker Cameron Bone shown a yellow card.
Camborne repulsed the threat from the resulting penalty and a 40m break by Ben Kemp put the home side back in the Bridgwater 22. Bridgwater were penalised and Mankee opened the scoring with a short-range penalty.
Minutes later, as Camborne obstructed a Bridgwater attacker, Heal pulled a 24m penalty attempt.
The end of the half saw a number of controversial refereeing decisions against Bridgwater and on the stroke of half time, Bridgwater centre, Will Kerry was yellow carded when it seemed that he was being trampled on by the home pack. Mankee kicked the penalty from 6 m to end the half 6-0.
Bridgwater brought on Scott Woolford for an out of sorts Joe Bussell and Brian Webb for George Sluman at half time.
Almost from the kick off, home full back Parma, who was a dangerous runner throughout his time on the field, scythed through for the first try of the game that proved too far out for Mankee to convert.
Bridgwater did not lie down and Ollie Dunn and Roger Drabble were both prominent in trying to get points for Bridgwater.
However it was the home side who went further ahead when No 8 David Roberts, who was in superb form throughout the game, got an unconverted try in the corner.
When Sam Knights tried to run a ball out of defence, his pass was intercepted by home winger Robert Floyd who cruised in for the third try converted by Mankee.
Bridgwater continued to try hard and managed to win a series of penalties. However, these were nullified by the home defence as the referee did not insist that Camborne retreated the full 10m as required by the laws.
The bonus point try did not take long and with a burst from the scrum the influential Roberts got his second try, converted by Mankee. Mankee himself was denied a try when he followed up his own chip ahead but was beaten to the ball by Joel Clark.
A good move to the right saw a second try for Floyd before Bridgwater ended the game with a concerted attack that eventually came to naught deep in injury time when possession was lost.
Bridgwater will relish the next two rugby-free weekends as they can put this disappointing result behind them. They will have learned that you cannot play rugby without the ball and, to get the ball, you must have at least parity in set pieces – and that was not evident in this performance.
The next match is at home to Cullompton on January 4th when Bridgwater will be anxious to avenge defeat in the first away match of the season.
Sam Knights, Joel Clark, Rob Allen, Will Kerry, Nick Francis, Stu Heal, Roger Drabble, Gary Saunders, Ollie Dunn, Joe Bussell, Doug Page-Symonds, Matt Northey. Dan Kemmish (Capt). George Sluman, Tayler Buller.
Replacements used: Scott Woolford, Brian Webb
Replacement not used: Simon Martin
Referee: Ryan Cook (Cornwall)
Tries: Roberts (2), Floyd (2), Parma
Cons: Mankee (2)
Pens: Mankee (2)