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Sidmouth 45, B&A RFC 25 (29/09/12)

| 11/04/2013 | Reply

Bridgwater & Albion, having had an exemplary discipline record for the first four matches of the season, somehow ended this match with only thirteen players as both Roger Drabble and Garryn Basson were given red cards by Devon referee, Ben Chadwick, in the final ten minutes of the game. With disciplinary hearings to be held in due course, I can make no comment about the dismissals.

With injuries and non-availabilities, Bridgwater made eight changes in their starting line-up and in the first quarter of an hour conceded four tries to the home side.

After only three minutes, Sidmouth playing downwind and downhill opened the scoring. Clean possession from a lineout on halfway saw the ball moved sweetly to the right wing where Sam Meadham cruised in for the opening try converted by Tom Whelan.

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Straight from the kick off, Sidmouth regained the ball and ran at Bridgwater. Only a superb try-saving tackle by Nick Francis kept them out. However, the home side recycled the ball from the tackle and Whelan cruised over under the posts to leave himself an easy conversion. Ashley Pippard narrowed the gap with a simple penalty that was scant reward for the visitors following a period of pressure.

The third Sidmouth try came after eleven minutes when Ollie Pyne broke from a ruck in midfield and handed on to Luke Goss whose try gave Whelan another easy conversion. Bridgwater were once again guilty of too much aimless kicking as Sidmouth invariably ran the ball back at them putting the visitors under pressure. Another visiting foray into Sidmouth territory saw a second simple penalty for Pippard.

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Sidmouth then tried a speculative kick into the Bridgwater 22, two defenders missed the ball and James Powell gathered and scored the bonus point try, converted by Whelan after only a quarter of an hour.

Bridgwater then warmed to their task and defended stoutly as Sidmouth looked in vain for a fifth try.

Bridgwater came into the game and following a superb break by Gavin Knight, who had replaced Matt Ruddle at loose-head prop, the ball was recycled to Garryn Basson on the wing who scored in the corner. Pippard’s conversion was just short.

Bridgwater continued to press and looked lively with the line-out, in particular, looking very secure. However, in injury time, from an innocuous scrum on their own ten-metre line Whelan broke through and took the home side into a 35-11 half time lead with a good individual try and conversion.

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Now playing with the elements, Bridgwater dominated the second period. Sidmouth began committing many infringements in defence and the referee spoke to their captain on a number of occasions. Dan Kemmish was very unfortunate to have been taken out in the air whilst jumping in a line-out. Bridgwater should have scored after ten minutes but a certain Australian hooker dropped the admittedly poor scoring pass with the line at his mercy.

After a quarter of an hour, the referee finally realised where his yellow card was and showed it to home flanker, Jack Pyne. Bridgwater kicked the penalty to touch, won the lineout and saw Matt Hastie wriggle over in the corner. Pippard’s conversion from the touchline was superb and his reward was to be substituted with Rhys Owens coming on. Roger Drabble also joined the fray.

Bridgwater were now the better side. The penalty count for Bridgwater was quite high and it was a mystery to many observers that more yellow cards were not issued to home defenders, perhaps coupled with a penalty try or two. Knight broke away from forty metres out and when it looked as if he was certain to score, he tripped over a blade of grass and fell flat on his face in the shadow of the posts (See photos for the evidence).  The Bridgwater supporters didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!

Bridgwater kept up the pressure and Rob Thompson, who had run well with the ball, in hand all afternoon, brought Bridgwater within ten points with a try under the posts converted by Owens. The game became very fractious and following a general altercation, Roger Drabble, who had never even received a yellow card in a 20yr career, was red-carded for an alleged act of foul play.

Sidmouth, on a rare foray into the Bridgwater half, increased their lead with a straight-forward Whelan penalty from 20m that went over via the post. Bridgwater continued to attack looking for both four try and losing bonus points but the extra man told and a flowing Sidmouth move saw Powell get his second try in the corner, converted by Whelan.

Before the restart, Garryn Basson was red-carded for an alleged act of foul play in the build-up to the try. Shortly afterwards came the final whistle. Bridgwater will take heart from the final hour of this game – which they ‘won’ 19-17 but the game itself was all over in the first quarter. The pack played well and managed to steal a few home lines-out. Scrummages were secure and there was little turn-over ball lost. However, defensive alignment was occasionally lacking as Sidmouth capitalised on early defensive errors.

Next week, Bridgwater are home to Paignton in a game they must win to try and kick-start the season. Kick off will be at 3-00pm.

Scorers
Sidmouth
Tries: Whelan (2), Powell (2), Meadham, Goss
Cons: Whelan (6) Pen: Whelan

Bridgwater & Albion
Tries: Basson, Hastie, Thompson
Cons: Pippard,  Owens
Pens: Pippard (2)

Bridgwater Starting Team: Nick Francis, Garryn Basson, James Brakes, Ollie Dunn, Toby Payne, Ashley Pippard, Dominik Griffin, Matt Ruddle, Matt Hastie, James Bryant, Matt Northey, Rob Thompson, Joe Stradling, Luke De Sylva, Dan Kemmish (Capt)
Replacements all used: Gavin Knight,  Roger Drabble, Rhys Owens

Referee: Ben Chadwick, (Devon Ref Soc)

Match report by Tony Pomeroy

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

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