Prior to the game, Oldfield celebrated the receipt of the RFU Accreditation Award and they carried their celebrations on to the pitch.
The home side, out-muscled the Bridgwater side and thoroughly deserved their bonus point victory which took them above Bridgwater at the lower end of the league table.
Bridgwater once again looked very lacklustre for much of the game and only showed occasional glimpses of the sort of running rugby they can play. The old failings of far too much totally aimless kicking, poor handling and indeterminate tackling were far too evident. The normally very strong lineout drills also misfired and in the space of one five minute period, Bridgwater contrived to lose four consecutive lineout throws!
Oldfield started at break-neck pace, taking possession at the kick off. The first time the excellent London Society referee, Matt Shales, blew his whistle was to award the home side a try. The ball was swiftly moved to the right where very speedy winger, Conrad Braithwaite, easily sliced through the Bridgwater defence to open the scoring. Rob Payne converted with an excellent kick and Bridgwater were playing catch-up after only a minute.
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Bridgwater then came into the game but despite putting Oldfield under some pressure, did not look like scoring themselves.
Oldfield came back and following a series of driving mauls, scrum half, Will Owen wriggled over for the second try. Payne again converted.
Bridgwater then contrived to lose a series of attacking linesout but good defence kept Oldfield out. However, they conceded a penalty, kicked by Payne to extend the home lead.
Matt House was forced off with a leg injury and assistant coach, Simon Martin, came on at centre. Rob Prescott also replaced Gary Saunders at prop. One Bridgwater move brought the visiting supporters to life as good running, handling and support play almost brought a score. It showed what can be done when the basics are right.
In first half injury time, with Bridgwater again on the attack, the ball was lost and Oldfield broke away. Bridgwater infringed and with the final kick of the half, Payne landed a 35m penalty for a 20-0 lead.
Early in the second half, Rhys Owen was injured and replaced by House. Oldfield continued their pressure and when the ball was again moved to the right, Braithwaite rounded his man, evaded a couple more attempted tackles and scored an excellent try in the corner. Payne rubbed salt in the wound with a superb touchline conversion.
Saunders then came back for Bridgwater as Prescott was injured and Joe Stradling replaced Matt Northey. When home prop, Mark Roberts was yellow carded for killing the ball, Bridgwater started to play. Martin went very close and then Chris Webber, following up, scored an unconverted try. House’s conversion hit the far post.
Bridgwater then embarked on one of their best periods of the game, constantly playing deep in the Oldfield half. Their berst chance came when James Bryant broke from a ruck some 25m out and handed on to Rob Thompson. His final pass was intercepted only 5m out and second row, Aiden Arscott, ball in hand, outpaced the Bridgwater defence in a 95m sprint to the Bridgwater line. Payne showed his mortality by missing the conversion from the touchline.
In injury time, Toby Payne broke down the left for Bridgwater. He elected to kick ahead, the home side gathered on their own 10m line and seconds later, Braithwaite was celebrating his hat-trick of tries. Payne’s conversion ended the game.
Bridgwater will be disappointed not only with the result but the manner of the defeat. There were flashes of exciting play but they must be more consistent. Bridgwater’s best player was Ollie Dunn, who ran hard with the ball in hand and tackled like a demon.
Oldfield OB Tries: Braithwaite (3), Owen, Arscott
Cons: Payne (4)
Pens: Payne (2)
Bridgwater & Albion
Bridgwater Team: Ashley Pippard, Garryn Basson, Matt House, Ollie Dunn, Toby Payne, Rhys Owen, Dominik Griffin, Gary Saunders, Matt Hastie, James Bryant, Matt Northey, Rob Thompson, Dan Kemmish (Capt), Nick Spellissy, Chris Webber.
Replacements all used: Rob Prescott, Joe Stradling, Simon Martin.
Referee: Matt Shales, (London Society)
Match report by Tony Pomeroy