DIRTRACKERS TURN ON THE STYLE IN BOTTOM OF TABLE CLASH
SATURDAY 29 MARCH 2014
BRIDGWATER & ALBION ATHLETIC 52 WIVELISCOMBE II 24
This bottom of the table clash turned out to be a highly entertaining fast-flowing affair. Albion were able to choose from a squad of 28 – a complete contrast from the previous week when left with just 8 players available, the trip to Tor had to be cancelled and the points conceded. Albion’s problem was therefore where to fit everyone in. To be fair, the starting XV had a familiar Dirtrackers’ ring about it with Stradling filling in in the centre and Smith coming in at stand-off. The nuptial celebrating Frost returned for his first game for several weeks at No. 8.
The visitors took up the challenge early on and in the fourth minute they missed a penalty. Albion then attacked but the visitors drove well out of their 22. In the 11th minute the ebullient Frost – looking as though he had never been away – received the ball, chipped ahead and caught the bounce for a typical try. Page duly converted from a wide angle. Wiveliscombe however had other ideas and hit back 7 minutes later when their penalty and line-out created the opportunity for their centre to cross on a switch move to level the scores. Albion then conceded 70 metres as they kicked the ball dead and Wivey made hay – a pick-up at the back of the scrum created space for their full-back to run in to give them a 12-7 lead. Albion however hit back immediately when firstly Coates split the defence and when the ball was recycled, Norman surged over with Page adding the extras. Albion now were becoming more fluent and attacked strongly through Frost and Taylor but Page lost the ball in the act of scoring. However momentum was maintained and Stradling dashed through for a try at the posts for Page to convert. In the final minute of the half Smith’s long relieving kick gave Albion a good position. They drove the line-out a long way and there was Norman at the bottom of the pile to secure his second try and to take Albion into a 26-12 half time lead.
The second half started dynamically as Hobbs claimed his own side’s kick-off, Buck took on supported by Marsh and when the ball came out into the backs Coates dummied/shimmied and crossed for Page again to convert. In the 54th minute after buzzing the Wivey line for some time, Buck finally burst over and Page again converted. Two minutes later Stradling – playing a fine game in an unusual position – burst through the Wivey defence and when the ball was recycled this time Ball crossed at the posts with Page again adding the extras. Wivey were not to be denied and secured a break away try in the 67th minute. Albion again immediately retorted with their traditional penalty line-out and catch and drive which saw Norman complete his hat trick. The visitors however had the last say finishing off matters with a well worked try and conversion.
An entertaining game with Albion’s ranked forces all making good contributions. The visitors were game to stay in the game and always make it difficult and should be applauded.
Albion now look to the run-in with the visits of Morganians on 5 April and Wyvern on 12 April to round off the season. They will be looking to be as convincing as they were here.
Team: Willis; Taylor Coates Stradling Knott; Smith Page; Frost Rae Stone Hobbs Innalls Moulding Norman Ruddle. Replacements – All used – Berry Pearce Lipscombe Marsh Ball Sturdy Goddard Milburn Buck.
Scorers – Tries: Norman (3) Frost Stradling Coates Buck Ball. Conversions: Page (6).
Category: 3rd Previews / Reports -XV