Albion’s Dirtrackers have rarely hit serious form this season apart from improved showing in an entertaining draw against Hornets two weeks ago. At last Albion got their act together and despite several positional changes, produced easily their best display of the season in what appeared to be a convincing victory over a brave and spirited Minehead side.
Minehead had the advantage of a stiff breeze in the first half and after two minutes, they missed a 40-metre penalty. The visitors then conceded a yellow card, the offence of which saw Albion’s Moulding injured and temporarily retired. From the penalty Albion kicked to touch and the traditional catch and drive saw Frost at the bottom to open the scoring. Ward taking up the kicking duties duly obliged with a fine conversion.
Minehead kept the ball close and some great driving bursts by them took them deep into Albion territory. They looked like scoring until they fumbled the ball in the three-quarter line and Rae relieved pressure with a long arcing run out of defence. In the 22nd minute Albion used penalty advantage to great effect as they continued driving deep in Minehead territory. The visitors’ defence got in a muddle and Page snapped up the ball for an opportunist try which Ward improved. Minehead once again hit back strongly and several times came within an ace of scoring but either conceded a penalty or lost the ball at the wrong times. Minehead also ran back an Albion missed touch and were held up just short of the line. Ward put in a typically jinking run to cause consternation in the Minehead defence and Gibson burst through strongly. In the 34th minute, the Albion pack committed the opposition and when the ball came out, Rogers created sufficient space for Rae to race in for the third try to bring the half time score to 19-0.
Albion now had the benefit of the strong breeze and took full advantage. Frost typically made good ground, quickly followed by a further Gibson thrust. In the 52nd minute Albion’s pressure on the Minehead line was too much and Frost went over for his second try. Minehead were still trying hard and their isolated thrusts meant Albion’s defence had to be on its guard. In the 65th minute, Albion moved the ball to the right side and Knott superbly drifted inside the covering defence to score his first try for the Dirtrackers in many a moon. Ward added the extras. Three minutes later Buck who had come on as a replacement crashed through from a penalty near the post and Ward again converted. Still Minehead tried to hit back and to get the score which they thoroughly deserved, but Albion’s defence held.
This was a good much improved showing from Albion. Every player had his moment. Gibson, Frost and in particular Huntley were to the fore in the loose play. Dale Walker had a fine game as hooker. Rae and Rogers were strong in the middle and Knott and McCarthy lent good defensive support at the back.
This victory will have pepped up Albion – the benefits of training have been immediately felt and hopefully will now provide the momentum to kick on in the next few matches. The next encounter is at Morganians on Saturday where the home side have been in good form and this will be a good test for Albion’s renewed vigour.
Team: Ward; McCarthy Rogers Rae Knott; Coates Page; Frost C Norman Huntley Innalls Gibson Moulding D Walker Ruddle. Replacements – Used – Berry Goddard Pearce Hill Buck. Unused – Taylor Miller.
Scorers: Tries – Frost (2) Page Rae Knott Buck. Conversions: Ward (4).