BELEAGUERED UNITED SHOW RESOLVE AND SPIRIT
AS TOR RUN RAMPANT
TOR 71 BRIDGWATER & ALBION UNITED 19
Albion just about managed to muster a full XV for this encounter at a sunlit and breezy Glastonbury. Despite the fact that the Dirtrackers had withdrawn from their game at Minehead, still no replacements could be found for this side. Indeed, two of the side – Walker and Hillman – were making their first appearances at any level this season. Add to that, several positional changes – particularly in the front row then the performance in the face of a considerable Tor onslaught was commendable. During the close season Albion must get their act in order with their playing personnel – of whom there are plenty judging by the registration list – and clearly establish whether some players wish to play for the club or not. These 15 gave their all and ought to have inspired others.
Tor are coached by the former North Petherton and Albion duo Messrs Hastie and Hancock both of whom played in this match. They have done a good job in galvanising the Tor side into a useful outfit where the forwards and backs combine readily.
In just the fourth minute the Tor forwards set the scene for the afternoon with a burst up the middle which released their centre for the opening try which was duly converted. Four minutes later they produced the same goods – forwards driving and backs finishing off for another 7 points. In the 11th minute Tor scored their third try using the same method. Albion now hit back for the first time with scrum-half Franklin producing a great jinking break but they just could not finish off the move. In the 16th minute Tor’s quick penalty caught the Albion defence off-balance and 7 more points were added. Then for 10 minutes or so Albion produced sustained and spirited resistance using the catch and drive from the line-out to good effect with Lipscombe, Page-Symonds and Hillman trying to force their way over. The Tor defence however held. Franklin again and Lipscombe almost combined for the vital score. The home side quelled Albion’s intentions and hit back to score two further tries before half-time, one of which was converted. Franklin once again almost broke through with his chip and catch providing the highlight. Tor broke away just before half-time but just failed to score and they led 38-0 at the interval.
Albion embarked on another sustained attacking sortie from the kick-off and both Hillman and Collings were almost over. Eight minutes into the half Tor tried an ambitious move just inside their own territory – the ball went down and Collings snapped up the loose ball to score and Owens converted. Six minutes later Albion produced quick ball from the line-out and the backs created sufficient space to send Barnett over for an unconverted try. These scores had stunned Tor but the home side hit back in commendable fashion, adding four tries – three of which were goaled in a 20 minute spell. Albion had still not finished and may have fancied the bonus point. Back they came and when their forwards won the ball in Tor’s 22, Kerry’s superb slip pass to Collings sent the centre over for a try which he converted. In the final minute Tor burst through yet again with Hancock securing his second try and rounding off matters.
A spirited and against the odds performance which almost produced a bonus point which would have been well-deserved. All of the side had their moments. Up front, the Tor forwards were strong and invariably put Albion on the back foot but Euan Trebble-Westlake, Walker and Knight stood their ground manfully; Page-Symonds and Lewis took some good line-out ball where throwing in with the breeze became difficult; Hillman was always prominent as was Lipscombe in a busy way with Urbonis once again tackling everything that moved. Franklin was absolutely outstanding at scrum-half behind a retreating pack and outside Owens plied his three-quarters with what good ball came his way and all of Brakes, Kerry, Collins and Lang moved the ball well when it came their way. In behind, Barnett was always sound and busy in defence and assisted the attacking moves as his try demonstrated.
This was a difficult match against the fifth-placed side and Albion now have to play the top two in successive weeks. They will know what to expect but if spirit and effort continues like this, then the other team will know that they have a game. Let’s hope that other colleagues may be in attendance to assist.
Team: Barnett; Brakes Collings Kerry Lang; Owens Franklin; Lipscombe Urbonis Hillman Lewis Page-Symonds Euan Trebble-Westlake Walker Knight.
Tries: Collings (2) Barnett. Conversions: Owens and Collings.