Last week the seconds had an agonising result against top of the table Clevedon seconds whom stole the victory in the dying moments of the game. Bridgwater were buoyed by their fantastic performance and travelled to Chard in search of a second 5-point victory over their second string this season.
In what is becoming a common occurrence, Scott Woolford was called up to the first team and was replaced in the starting XV by Nick Ball. Dale Walker started at hooker with Josh Sturdy finding himself in the back row for a second game in as many weeks after another first team call for Joe Stradling. Glenn Foggin made his return to the second row alongside Captain Matthew Northey. John Hill also made his return but replaced his baby brother Tim Hill at scrum half who was unavailable through a niggling back injury. James Kerry, on day release from work, came onto the bench.
Two minutes into the game, Chard were penalised for diving off their feet in the ruck area. Bridgwater looked to gain an early lead but, unfortunately, the three pointer attempt was missed. Neither team managed to produce any sort of flowing rugby that was pleasing to the eye in what was a highly fragmented game. This was largely due to handling errors, poor discipline at the breakdown and quite frankly, atrocious body angles in several areas of the game.
Ryan Barnett sparked an attack from inside his own 22 with a dummy kick that fooled two of Chards defenders. He darted around the airborne defence and set off up the field. Several phases later and just before the stroke of half time, Bridgwater won another penalty. Instead of taking the points and the lead in a game where point scoring opportunities were sparse, Bridgy kicked to the corner. The resulting line-out was won, albeit behind the intended target due to an overthrow. Foggin gathered and marshalled the Bridgwater pack over the try line for Ben Lipscomb to gracefully flop on the ball in the corner. The tricky kick was missed and the first half ended with Bridgwater sneaking a 0-5 lead.
Unfortunately the try was not an indication of things to come with the second half continuing in theme of the first, with poor rugby. The first piece of play that was noteworthy was a cheeky, and rather audacious, kick pass from Hill. He chipped the ball off the floor moments before a diving Chard player gathered it. The ball sailed straight into Jay Owens’ bread basket. It’s not quite known whether it was pure fluke or a moment of sheer brilliance and impeccable vision – feel free to make your own judgement.
Some very poor defensive work from Bridgwater gifted Chard a try in the corner and the conversion was nailed. Shortly after the restart, Bridgwater won another penalty and Ashley Pippard took another shot at the sticks. Thankfully it proved to be third time (very) lucky, with the kick pinging off the upright and over for three points. The kick regained the lead for Bridgwater by the smallest of margins 7-8.
With the clock ticking down Chard attacked down the wing and with a two-man overlap it was squeaky bum time for the Bridgy boys. In the most fortunate of circumstances, the ball was knocked on letting Bridgwater off the biggest of metaphorical hooks.
The final whistle came, and with it, a huge sigh of relief. Granted, a win is a win and 4 points but Bridgwater would have expected so much more after such a promising performance last week. Next week Bridgwater seconds host Old Redcliffians III who are propping up the league table but are not to be underestimated after recent wins against Chard and Castle Cary.
Team: Ward, Barnet, Dickinson, Owens, Lang, Pippard, J. Hill; Ball, Walker, Saunders, Northey (Capt), Foggin, Sturdy, Lipscomb, Satchell
Reps: (Used) J. Kerry (Not Used) Moulding