MATCH MONOLOGUE: BARFC 2nds 38, Chard 2nds 0
Please see below the unedited and unabridged story of the BARFC 2nd team game by Josh (why use one word when you can use twenty) Sturdy.
Bridgwater & Albion took on the task of Hosting Chard RFC on a dry overcast day down at their very own College Way.
Bridgwater with their run of good performances over the past two weeks were once again looking to build on their streak of victorys.
Bridgwater fielded a slightly altered side than the previous Saturday with the likes of captain George Sluman being released to first team to perform duties consisting of water bottle carrying and bench warming. Alex Newman after a run of good performances with the second team also earned himself a place alongside his skipper on the bench for the 1st XV. The second team welcomed back the glorious figure that is David Norman after his stint with the 1st XV the weekend before and also the second team were blessed with the presence of 1st XV regular Bryan Webb. Bridgwater also welcomed Llyod Steward to the team who would be replacing his injured sibling Olly who still hadn’t managed to pass his mummy’s fitness test.
Bridgwater won the toss of the coin and elected to play into the rather blustery wind for the first half.
Chard opened the match with a short kick that Skipper Josh Sturdy gathered up well, with a cheeky dummy switch with Webb he then plowed into the middle of Chards defence with support from Joe Stradling and Ben Lipscombe.
As is typical of a Bridgwater II’s performance, they threw everything they had a Chard in the first 10 minutes. With some slick hands from Stradling, Sturdy and Webb, Jay Owens found himself trundling up the wing with Ryan Barnett in support, Owens drew the last defender and offloaded to Barnett giving him an open wing to the try line. Unfortunately Barnett snapped at the ball with anxiety and knocked the ball to the floor resulting in a scrum for Chard 5m out from their try line allowing them to then clear their lines.
Bridgwater won the lineout and released the backs for the first time in the game, James sent the ball out wide, Owens hit a gap and made good yardage before offloading to winger Dan Lang who made good progress up the wing before being dragged down. Ben Lipscombe then took a crash ball off John Hill (jnr) and with Sturdy latching on they both drove over Chards line. Unfortunately the referee saw that the ball was held up and Bridgwater were awarded with a Scrum five metres out.
With a good solid scrum from Bridgwater, Hill (Jnr) shipped the ball out to the backs where James then released John Hill (The Elder) who jinked his way through a tight gap to get the first points on the board for Bridgwater, Hill (The Elder) then converted his own try making the score 7-0.
Chard restarted the game again kicking short into Bridgwaters half, Norman put his name on the ball but was unable to take the catch cleanly and spilt it forwards. The resulting scrum saw Chard with their first passage of play and began pounding Bridgwater defensive lines. With great defense from the likes of Stradling and Lipscombe, Bridgwater thought they had earned themselves a turn over, however the referee defined it as handling in the rucks and marched Bridgwater backwards ten metres. Chard kicked to the corner and awarded themselves with a lineout deep inside Bridgwaters half. Chard threw to the front of the lineout and set a maul and tried to drive towards Bridgys line, the Bridgy pack held firm however and drove the Chard maul back over itself. The referee awarded Bridgwater with a Scrum which was won by Bridgwater and James kicked it long up the field for Lang and Stardling to chase. The Chard winger gathered the ball and was immediately met with the two chasing Bridgwater defenders who bundled him into touch.
Doughy Page-Symonds as always commanded the lineout well, he was lifted high in the lineout and was picked out well by Hooker Sturdy, with quick ball called, Hill (Jnr) again released the backs for a trundle up the park. It was hear a Chard player was deemed offside so Bridgwater kicked to the Chard five metre line. With a training ground lineout move from Bridgwater, Bryan Webb was able to drive over the line for Bridgwaters second try of the day with Hill (The elder) converting the extras making the score 14-0.
With the end of the first half drawing closer Bridgwater were hit with a number of injuries. Bryan Webb left the field with a suspected broken hand after putting in a nice hit in the middle of the park. He was replaced with the fresh face of Mitch Windsor who was making his return after taking a week off because of work commitments. Soon after Stradling also left the field with a dead leg, he was replaced by Llyod Steward who took over number 8 duties.
The whistle went ending the first half leaving the current score 14-0 to the Bridgy boys.
Bridgwater opened the second half with a long high kick from James. The ball was gathered well by the Chard prop who charged towards his opposite man Scott Woolford. The collision was big and both players fell to floor hard, Bridgwater were the first to react and drove over the ruck to win back the ball, the ball was shipped to the backs were the old head of Matt Ranson trucked it up the mid-field, with support from the Bridgy forwards, Hill (Jnr) was able to release Barnett for a short gallop up the wing, Barnett was tackled and a maul was formed, it was then a Chard players was penalised for trying to collapse the maul, Bridgwater used the opportunity to kick the ball deep into Chard territory. With the backs confident in one of their moves tbe Bridgy forwards were lenient enough to allow quick ball off the lineout. The ball was spun wide and Lang was able to crash over the line awarding Bridgwater with another try. Hill (The elder) missed the extras making the score 19-0 to Bridgwater.
Chard restarted the game again and the ball was gathered well by Tom Lewis who was met with immediate contact. The Bridgy forwards came to his aid and a ruck was formed. Bridgwater again kicked long into the Chard half with Owens and Lang chasing, the Chard winger panicked and tried to kick the ball into touch, he spooned it and the ball landed in Owens arms. He made some ground before hitting the floor and forming a ruck with Lang in support. The forwards crashed up two phases of play before the ball was again spun wide out to Barnetts wing, he continued making ground up the pitch before he was tackled. The ball in the ruck was then split forward by a Bridgwater hand and Chard were awarded the Scrum ten metres out from their own line. Bridgwater piled the pressure on in the Scrum and the ball came shooting out the back through the Chard number eights legs and over the try line, Hill (Jnr) reacted the quickest and was able to pounce on the ball and score Bridgwaters fourth try with the extras converted by Hill (The elder) making the score 26-0.
Before the restart two tactical substitutions was made, Gavin Knight came on as hooker pushing Sturdy to the back row with Lipscombe dropping to the Bench and Stardling after getting his breath back, came back on as number eight replacing Llyod Steward.
With the game drawing to a close Bridgwater were still out hunting for points. With a few failed attempts from the backs to add a few extras to the score line, the forwards decided to use a move off a scrum whitch would give the backs acres of space on the blind side, however Stradling had other ideas. Standing at eight, he broke from the back of a Bridgy scrum just outside the twenty two metre line and rampaged towards the Chard try line, he broke two tackles and was in under the posts giving Hill (The elder) an easy kick for the extras making the score 33-0 to Bridgwater.
With the game drawing into the last five minutes Chard restarted the game on last time. The ball was gathered by Bridgwater and they worked some phases using the forwards to suck in the opposing Chard players. Hill (Jnr) broke away up the blind side with Barnett and Sturdy in support. He made good yardage before unloading to Barnett who continued further up the wing before being tackled into touch awarding Chard with a lineout deep in their own half. From the lineout they tried to set up a maul but the ball was fumbled, the Chard scrum half re-gathered the ball and tried to clear their lines with a kick. Stradling managed to get his finger tips to the ball as it was kicked and this resulted in the ball sailing high into the air but not progressing up the pitch. Sturdy managed to reach the highest and pluck the ball from the air and make the final few metres to cross the Chard try line and awarding Bridgwater with the final try of the day with the extras unconverted making the final score 38-0 to Bridgwater.
After this victory Bridgwater II team now sit fourth in the league. Bridgwater can take a number of good and bad points away from this win but the zero on the score board sums up the very impressive defensive display that Bridgwater showed against Chard and also throughout the season so far.
Next week Bridgwater look to build on their impressive perfomance as they face a short trip down the M5 to take on local rivals Wellington.
1 (D.Norman) 2(J.Sturdy) 3(S.Woolford) 4(D. Page-Symonds) 5(T.Lewis) 6(B.Webb) 7(B.Lipscombe) 8(J. Stradling) 9(J.hill Jnr) 10(J.Collins) 11(D. Lang) 12(M. Ranson) 13(J. Owens) 14(R. Barnett) 15(J. Hill The elder) Reps (Mitch Windsor, Gavin Knight, Llyod Steward)