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Chard RFC 11, B&A RFC 9 (2/11/13)

| 02/11/2013 | Reply
James Bryant

James ‘Rollie’ Bryant

For the fourth time in the last six matches Bridgwater had to be content with a single losing bonus point and they have now slipped another place in the league table to eighth writes Tony Pomeroy.

Bridgwater were missing their two usual wingers – Joel Clark is playing for the Caymen Islands in a sevens tournament and Arg Saliarelis is unfit. They were replaced by Garryn Basson and Nick Francis. James Bryant returned to the front row with LJ Chawatama dropping to the bench and Matt Northey joined the second row to enable skipper, Dan Kemmish, to move into a re-jigged back row.  Ollie Dunn continued as hooker.

Bridgwater elected to play uphill and into the wind in the first half. Exchange referee, Paul Cassidy from Warwickshire, was prepared to allow the players the freedom to play the game to the best of their ability and within the laws of the game and as a result, a good game of rugby ensued.

Chris Doak opened the scoring for the home side after two minutes, kicking a simple penalty after Bridgwater infringed at the tackle. Two minutes later, the boot was on the other foot as Stuart Heal landed a 38m penalty into the wind for a similar offence.

Ali Blundell made a good break for the visitors that was more than equalled by one from home scrum half Dougie Herbert.  Chard looked the stronger side, particularly up front as their pack gave Bridgwater a torrid afternoon and prop Luke Aplin went close with a powerful run.

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Bridgwater defended stoutly for the first quarter but eventually cracked when, following a driving maul, player-coach, hooker, Simon Jenkins touched down.  Doak’s conversion from near the touchline hit the post.

The second quarter saw both sides have chances. Heal was just wide with a very ambitious 45m penalty into the breeze but just before half time, Doak landed a 42m effort to make the interval score 11-3.

Heal’s second half kick-off put Chard under pressure.  They held out for five minutes until they were penalised. Back-chat to the referee cost the home side another 10m and Heal easily narrowed the gap with a 38m penalty.

Minutes later, Rob Allen was unlucky to run into the referee just as he was hoping to score.  From the scrummage Bridgwater were penalised and Chard cleared their lines.

A third Heal penalty after 13 minutes brought Bridgwater within two points  but that was as good as it got for the visitors. Chard repulsed everything Bridgwater threw at them and were helped by the penalty count which went 12-7 in favour of the home side.

Doak had a chance to increase his team’s lead with 15 mins to go but pulled an easy penalty from in front of the posts.  Minutes later, Nick Francis was obstructed whilst chasing his own chip ahead. Heal placed the ball for the resulting penalty near to the left hand touchline on the Chard 10m line.  His kick looked to be long and straight but, at the last moment, the wind got at it and the ball sailed narrowly wide of the near post leaving Chard with a narrow victory.

Bridgwater will be disappointed to lose yet again.  Their defence was good, repulsing many of the Chard attacks.  However, Bridgwater need at least one runner to compliment the skills and strength of Rob Allen. In this game, Bridgwater’s usually secure lineout also began to creak.  Bridgwater gave a debut to Brian Webb who came on as a replacement into the back row and looked the part.

Next week they host Sidmouth who languish in a relegation position at the lower end of the league when Bridgwater will hope to get back to winning ways. 

Scorers:
Chard
Try:   Jenkins
Pens:  Doak (2)

Bridgwater & Albion 
Pens: Heal (3)

Bridgwater Team
Ash Honeywell, Garryn Basson, Rob Allen, Will Kerry, Nick Francis, Stuart Heal, Sam Knights, James Bryant, Ollie Dunn, Joe Bussell, Ali Blundell,  Matt Northey, Nick Spellissy,  Tayler Buller,  Dan Kemmish (Capt)

Replacements: (used)  Lovejoy Chawatama, Brian Webb, (unused)  Simon Martin

Referee:  Paul Cassidy  (Warwickshire)  

Category: 1st XV News, Previews / Reports -XV

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