Bridgwater & Albion 3rd XV were hoping to get back on the road after suffering a disappointing defeat at Tor the previous week. However the opposition – Ivel Barbarians II – did not arrive. When Albion played Ivel away the home side just about managed to gather a side together, so the signs of them appearing in the return match were already somewhat ominous. Add to that the fact that they had withdrawn from several other away fixtures meant that perhaps the circumstances were predictable. Albion were at strength and could have loaned the would-be visitors players to make it a game. However the 3rds took the opportunity of some light entertainment on the back pitch before settling down to watch the second half of the 2nd XV match v Old Sulians.
This is the second time the opposition has withdrawn this season – the first was when a home side actually ceded the points.
If only clubs realised what problems they cause by cancelling such fixtures, then perhaps they would think again – they must know as if the same happened to them, they would be up in arms. Here were 20 Albion players kicking their heels – although they managed to enjoy some activity. It was also fortunate that the 2nd XV were at home, otherwise the club premises would have been without a match and the knock-on effect is always considerable.
Somerset County RFU Competitions Committee has worked hard to modify the rules for the lower leagues to encourage teams to turn up even if they are short and even without a front row. If they do that and their team is made up by the opposition, then there is no loss of league points. However many withdrawals will lead the committee to consider their plight.
The 3rds therefore look forward to their next encounter at Somerton before returning to College Way to host Hornets III on 24 January for the rearranged match postponed from 1 November. After that there is the long-awaited local derby with Morganians.