Camborne cemented their place at the top of the league with this display at Bridgwater. The game was closer than the final score suggests as Bridgwater had parity for much of the game with their Cornish visitors at scrum, line out and ruck. Camborne made the most of their chances, benefitting from a certain amount of largesse in the home tackling.
Bridgwater brought back Tom Fournier-D’Albe at scrum half and Gavin Knight at hooker and gave a first start to James McLauchlan at No 8. Nick Spellissy and James Collings joined the bench warmers.
Bridgwater started well and two Chris Ashwin penalties gave them a 6-0 lead which lasted until the 21st minute. At this stage, the home side looked good value for their lead.
However, at that point, Camborne winger, Alex Ducker, picked up the ball at the back of a ruck on his own 10m line. He sold an outrageous dummy and broke through half a dozen attempted tackles before crossing for a fine individual try converted by centre, Rhys Brownfield.
Bridgwater hit back and Ashwin regained the lead for the home side with his third penalty.
On the half hour, Camborne scrum half, Richie Kevern, broke clear from a ruck on the Bridgwater 22 and, with the aid of some weak tackles, scored in the right hand corner. Brownfield converted with a superb kick across the breeze. However, he then missed a fairly routine kick from 32m to leave the interval score 9-14.
Camborne attacked from the restart and almost immediately, Ducker got his second try in the corner. Brownfield could not convert.
Bridgwater introduced Spellissy at No 8 in place of McLauchlan.
Immediately, Camborne obstructed the home side whist chasing the kick off and Ashwin kicked his fourth penalty.
Camborne began to gain in confidence and spurned penalty attempts in the search for tries. The bonus point came following a brace of penalties deep in the home 22 when flanker Neil Stanleick was driven over following a 5m line-out. Brownfield converted again.
Bridgwater did not lie down and following a period of pressure, threw the ball wide left to the unmarked Oscar Tregenna who scored in the corner. Ashwin’s conversion attempt drifted wide of the posts. That was as good as it got for Bridgwater with the last quarter belonging to the visitors as they ran in three more tries. Ducker got his hat-trick with an arcing run that took him through several despairing tackle attempts, Stanleick his second- in an identical manner to the first – and in the final minute, with Bridgwater down to thirteen men when Gavin Knight and Jervis Manupenu were both sin-binned within a minute of each other, Damien Cook was driven over for the seventh try for the visitors. Two Brownfield conversions gave Camborne a comfortable 17-45 win.
Whilst Bridgwater were a competitive force for the first quarter of the match, by the final quarter, the efforts of playing against a much bigger pack were beginning to take their toll. They were unable to cope with the task of stopping powerful driving mauls and the tackling was going in too high to be effective. The old problem of aimless kicking also reared its ugly head and it was not helped by lack of cohesion in the chasing pack.
With home games against second placed Newent and third placed Thornbury to come after Easter, Camborne hold their future in their own hands.
If Bridgwater can build on their first quarter performance, they are capable of winning the final four games of the season and perhaps even climb a couple of places from their current seventh position.
Bridgwater’s remaining matches are all against teams currently below them in the table, starting with a visit to Bideford on April 2nd. The next home game is against Avonmouth Old Boys on April 9th.
Bridgwater & Albion
Try : Tregenna
Pens: Ashwin (4)
Tries: Ducker (3), Stanleick (2), Kevern, Cook
Cons: Brownfield (5)
Bridgwater Team: Rob Gurnett (rep James Collings 68), Kyran Devitt, Rob Allen, Chris Ashwin, Oscar Tregenna, Jervis Manupenu, Tom Fournier-D’Albe, Lewis Phillips (rep Adrian Tew 53), Gavin Knight, Joe Bussell, Dan Kemmish, Taylor Buller, Luca Ercolani, Ollie Dunn (Capt), James McLauchlan (rep Nick Spellissy 43)
Referee : Chris Hoadley (Somerset Society)
Category: Previews / Reports -XV