SATURDAY 15 MARCH 2014
BRIDGWATER & ALBION ATHLETIC 43 IVEL BARBARIANS II 14
A strengthened Dirtrackers XV finally broke their 2014 duck with a convincing performance against Ivel Barbarians on Saturday. This match habitually goes the way of the home side and so it was in this encounter. Albion’s abundance at scrum half overflowed with Hill taking up the No. 9 shirt and partnering Page who had shown good form at 10 the previous week; Drabble appeared in the centre before switching to scrum-half in the second half; there was even the vintage Berry to back up if all systems failed. Dunn and Hastie from another rugby football planet formed an enthusiastic back row with the No. 8 incumbent Buck.
Albion had first use of a strong breeze in their favour and immediately took the ball against the head in the first scrum and Dunn and Innalls made good ground. After 10 minutes of non-stop attacking, Albion scored when Kerry picked up the loose ball 30 metres out and burst through the Ivel defence to score at the posts for Page to add the extras. Some of Albion’s kicking with the breeze was too strong and they continually conceded territory. Ivel were showing signs of a well organised defence and continually thwarted Albion’s attacking instincts. The visitors stuck to their task well and kept coming back as Albion bungled several good opportunities. In the 35th minute Ivel broke out and took the ball some 50 metres, turning defence into attack and putting Albion under some rare pressure. Just when it looked like Albion had not made the most of the elements, up popped Hastie who darted over close to the posts for Page again to convert and the 14-0 interval lead was now looking more significant.
Despite facing the breeze now, Albion still attacked strongly and missed a pushover try in the 49th minute but with Ivel penalised, the ball was spun and Hill now appearing in the centre dashed over for an unconverted try. Six minutes later, Ivel again came back strongly and were held up but finally broke through and crashed over wide out for a try which was converted. Almost from the kick-off, they repeated the dose by attacking strongly down the right side and scored again and with the extras being added, the score was now 14-19. Fortunately for Albion good work by Kerry took play back into the Ivel half and a further Dunn burst took Albion close. The vital score came in the 70th minute when Kerry fielding the ball on the touchline at about 40 metres out, dashed through, chipped and caught his own kick to cross for his second try. Page duly added the conversion. This led to Albion’s final flourish which was somewhat harsh on Ivel as they had gamely stuck to the task well. In the closing minutes, Albion added three more tries. Firstly Kerry again burst through the Ivel defence and sent Hill racing in for his second try from 30 metres. Dunn again produced a long burst and when the ball was recycled, Gibson crashed over for Page to convert and in the final seconds, Drabble raced clear but was caught but from the ensuing scrum, Albion finally perfected the push over method and Buck secured the score.
All in all, probably the best performance of the season but this must be tempered by the fine play of those brought in with Dunn in particular giving an excellent example of perpetual motion; Kerry was always skilful from the back; Hastie was his ubiquitous self. Outside the half backs of whatever combination worked well together and Owens, Knott and Taylor all had their moments with the ball in hand.
This victory will have pepped Albion who still have five matches to play. They will be tested against the second placed side Tor II next Saturday but have the opportunity of playing sides around them in league terms over the last few matches to at least salvage some semblance of glory.
Team: Kerry; Knott Owens Drabble Taylor; Page Jon Hill; Buck Dunn Hastie Innalls Gibson Moulding D Walker Goddard. Replacements – used – T Walker. Unused – Berry Milburn McCarthy.
Scorers: Tries – Kerry (2) Hill (2) Gibson Hastie Buck. Conversions – Page (4).
Category: 3rd Previews / Reports -XV