BARFC 2nds vs Clevedon 2nds
MATCH REPORT BY JOE STRADLING
Albions first team were without a game this weekend, so several players were made available for the seconds. Ali Blundell dropped down to gain some elusive fitness, along with Stradling, John Hill and Woolford. Ollie Dunn was the front row replacement on the bench.
Clevedon’s first team were also without a game, but I can’t answer for them.
Bridgy will have approached this game with some trepidation, following the heavy loss suffered to the league leaders earlier in the season , however once the game had begun, you would be forgiven for not realising there are nine league places between these teams.
Bridgwater started strongly with good attack and defence, with large parts of the game played in the Clevedon half. On the ten minute mark Ranson burrowed his way over for the first try after some good forward work. Pippard gained the extras with a good kick. This was surprising as earlier he had shanked an almost certain three pointer from an ideal angle just to one side of the posts.
Bridgwater continued to have the upper hand, and a good break by Sturdy was offloaded, the ball quickly recycled from the ensuing breakdown and spread to the hands of Ward, who jinked his way over for a really excellent team try. Taking the score to 12 – 0.
From this point forward the order of scoring is disputed, with even the referee (who had a fine game overall) getting somewhat confused, although it all got ironed out in the end.
Clevedon scored two unconverted tries and a penalty to take a 13-12 lead. One of these tries (the first?) was scored by the winger, after several big carries from their big forwards, the ball was spread to their winger who, with very little space and four Albion defenders in front of him, managed to ghost around the outside to score in the corner. The other was scored by a forward in the opposite corner following some strong pick and go’s.
Clevedon then scored a further penalty to extend their lead to 16-12. Bridgwater then pulled themselves together to get themselves back into the Clevedon half, earning themselves a penalty. A Clevedon player was sin-binned at this point for abusing the referee. Pippard sent the ball to touch and from the lineout Bridgy set the drive and Ranson flopped over the line for his second of the afternoon, regaining the lead. Pippard again converted to extend the lead to 19-16 with seven minutes remaining.
Almost immediately Clevedon regained the ball in Bridgy’s half and a excellent finish whilst the tackle was being attempted, this proved to be the winning score, with only two minutes left on the clock. Bridgwater, to their credit, did not give up, with Blundell making a powerful run deep into the heart of Clevedon territory, although Clevedon were quickest to the breakdown, forcing the turnover and kicking the ball into touch to end a thoroughly entertaining game of rugby.
Bridgwater will rue some opportunities missed , and will need to look at their scrum, which was under huge pressure all afternoon , before taking on Chard away next weekend.
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Team: Ward, Webb, Dickenson, J. Hill, Lang, Pippard, T. Hill, Saunders, Sturdy, Woolford, Blundell, Northey (C), Ranson, Lipscomb, Stradling
Reps: (used) Barnett, Dunn, (not used) Smith