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Coney Hill RFC 5, BARFC 9 (25/01/14)

| 25/01/2014 | Reply

jan14_8966Match report by Tony Pomeroy

This was not so much a game of two halves as a game of four seasons. The match started in light rain which gradually increased in intensity.  Just before half time we were treated to thunder and lightning and a gale force wind combined with driving rain and hail.  The rain and wind eased in the  second half and the match ended in weak wintery sunshine but by then spectators and players were frozen and soaked.

Bridgwater brought in Joe Bussell to replace LJ Chawatama- playing for England Students in Portugal – and Ali Blundell, after injury, in the pack.  In the backs, Tayler Buller started, wearing 12 instead of his usual No 8 shirt, and James Brakes came in on the wing.

Bridgwater attacked from the kick off and with the referee playing a penalty advantage to Bridgwater, they moved the ball left along the backs. With a try in the offing – given the three man overlap – the referee unaccountably brought play back for a penalty to Bridgwater.

jan14_8954Bridgwater kept up the pressure and with another penalty advantage being played, Stuart Heal opened the scoring with a dropped goal just after a Bridgwater player failed to ground the ball for a try. Bridgwater seemed in control and it was no surprise when Heal landed a very kickable penalty to double the visitor’s lead.

Midway through the half, with the rain intensifying, a rare Coney Hill attack saw prop, M James crash over in the corner. The conversion attempt by A Wheller was wide.

Bridgwater managed to butcher a good scoring chance with poor handling before Heal kicked a very simple penalty for a 5-9 lead which remained through the storm until half time.

The wind veered in the second half and was fully behind the home side, now playing with the elements.

Wheller was well wide with a very ambitious 45m penalty as Bridgwater defended solidly in the face of Coney Hill attacks.  The visitors were not helped by injuries which took Tayler Buller and James Brakes off the field and they were later joined by replacement Roger Drabble. Bridgwater were left with flankers at centre and wing and Rob Allen bravely stayed on the field despite a pronounced limp.

Towards the end, as the weather relented, Bridgwater came back into the game and were unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions.  When the final whistle blew, the Bridgwater players celebrated the narrow win, dedicated to Friday’s Birthday Boy – coach Simon Martin – whose wife presented him with a son with whom he can now share his birthday.

Bridgwater will be concerned at the penalty count. They conceded at least eleven whilst only being awarded five, a statistic that looked unreal in the context of the game.

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The pack played superbly. Set pieces were rock solid and particularly Bussell, Brian Webb and Ollie Dunn who were always involved in the loose. James Bryant also ran strongly with the ball in hand.  For the backs, it was a very difficult afternoon, with weather conditions ruling out much running rugby.

Bridgwater now have two consecutive home matches. Next week they entertain Clevedon in a game postponed a couple of weeks ago. With the North Somerset side’s match being called off this week, also, Bridgwater have overtaken them in the league but have played one game more. They have also leap-frogged Cullompton to rise to eighth in the league and also have a game in hand on their Devon rivals.

Scorers:
Coney Hill                     
Try : James

Bridgwater & Albion       
Dropped Goal : Heal
Pens : Heal (2)

Bridgwater Team
Jon Hill, Garryn Basson, Rob Allen, Tayler Buller, James Brakes, Stuart Heal, Sam Knights, James Bryant, Matt Hastie, Joe Bussell, Ali Blundell, Dan Kemmish (Capt), Brian Webb,  Ollie Dunn, Nick Spellissy.

Reps all used: Scott Woolford, Doug Page-Symonds, Roger Drabble.

Referee:  Chris Goss (Bucks)

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

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