DIRTRACKERS BOUNCE BACK IN SOME STYLE
Albion’s Dirtrackers bounced back from the debacle at Cheddar Valley the previous week in some style, firstly taking the game to Hornets in the first half and then coming back strongly at the end to snatch a well-deserved draw.
Albion were boosted by the return of several of their regulars whom were unavailable the previous week. This was the first meeting with Hornets since both sides were promoted some three seasons ago.
Albion were first to show their attacking intentions with Taylor prominent. They also had the benefit of several penalty awards for them and Smith missed an early kick at goal. Albion were experiencing problems in the line-out with several mis-directed throws, but gradually got their game together. In the 10th minute from a penalty, Buck burst through and when he was stopped, Frost crashed over for the opening score. Albion however were caught unawares by a bounce from the kick-off and Hornets broke through but lost the ball. Smith and then Page hacked on and the latter just failing to claim the touchdown. Hornets were using their larger forwards to make headway and produced a promising attack, but Coates intercepted and almost made the line from 40 metres. Albion were awarded a penalty but again this was missed. Frost retired temporarily in the 22nd minute and was replaced by the returning Gibson. One of the main features of Albion’s improvement was their firmer tackling which stopped several promising Hornets moves. In the 28th minute, Albion capitalised on an errant Hornets throw and although the ball came back scrappily to Page, he magically wove through the Hornets defence to score in the corner. Smith redeemed himself from his earlier misses and kicked a fine conversation from the touchline.
Hornets battled back into the game with some sustained attacks, one of which ended with a push-over try from a scrum between the posts to reduce the arrears to 7-12. In the 36th minute Albion for once got their line-out spot on, allowing flanker Norman to burst through a surprised Hornets defence for a further try. In the last minute of the first half, the visitors – led by their excellent No. 8 – made good ground and Donegan on a sabbatical from Weston-Super-Mare crashed over for a try which was converted to make the interval score 17-14 in Albion’s favour.
Hornets started the second half intent on taking the lead and they did so in the very first minute as Albion lost the ball in mid-field and Hornets were able to release their left wing to dash over in the corner. Hornets were now starting to rule the forward exchanges with their strong pack, but Albion’s defence still held and there was no scoring for a long period. On the hour mark, Hornets looked like scoring their second push-over try of the afternoon but as the ball crossed the line, the alert Frost now back in action on the wing, dived in to claim the minor and a 22 award to Albion. Hornets’ bumbling and rumbling pack secured the ball for long periods and several times bundled over the line but were called back. However in the 69th minute they finally made it when surprisingly their stand-off was in the midst of a rolling maul and claimed the score. Six minutes later good work by the Hornets’ pack down the left enabled the Hornets centres to combine splendidly to increase the lead to 29-17. With time running out, Albion resorted to desperate measures. Firstly from a penalty award near the line, Frost outwitted everybody to crash over in the corner. In the very last minute, Albion gained possession inside the Hornets 22 and the ball came to fullback Ward who evaded several would-be tacklers and jinked over behind the posts to score a splendid try which Smith duly converted to level the scores.
An encouraging performance. Albion’s early initiative was thwarted by the size of the Hornets forwards which brought them back in the game and looked like winning it for them but Albion’s tenacity shone through at the end. That both sides scored five tries was perhaps a testament to the encounter – a good old fashioned game full of intrigue. Albion’s three points from this draw will have buoyed them and put them back on track to resuscitating a stumbling start to the season.
Team: Ward; Burrows Coates Taylor McCarthy; Smith Page; Innalls Frost C Norman Buck Huntley Ruddle Walker Moulding. Replacements – Used: Worgan Gibson Goddard. Unused: Berry Miller Knott.
Scorers: Tries – Frost (2) Page Norman Ward. Conversions – Smith (2).