The Dirtrackers were at full numerical strength this week with the luxury of 8 on the bench – a far cry from the beleaguered side which visited Somerton only seven days before. Ball was making a welcome first appearance of the season and newcomers McCarthy and Walker awaited their baptisms.
Albion incurred the wrath of the referee’s whistle almost from the very start as there were a spate of penalties awarded against them. As Wiveliscombe got nearer to Albion’s line, their stand-off Bellamy kicked them ahead with a simple penalty goal in the fifth minute. Albion could not get out of their half and were still conceding penalties and Bellamy repeated the dose in the 11th minute.
Finally Albion got their game together and at last controlled the play. From a line-out near the Wivey line Taylor seeking work at the coal face plunged over. Albion now took the game to the visitors and the penalty awards started coming back the other way. Albion opted for a scrum from one of these and as play broke up Buck crashed through for a try which Smith converted to put the home side 12-6 ahead.
Smith made sure that Albion stayed in the right parts of the field with some impressive left-footed kicking and half-time arrived with Albion justifiably in the lead.
As in the first half, Wivey had the better of the early minutes of the half and after 7 minutes, Bellamy kicked his third penalty to reduce the arrears. Albion hit back and camped in the visitors’ 22. Good inter-passing between Frost and Norman resulted in the latter dashing over in the corner to improve the lead to 17-9. Wivey however were intent on hitting back and it took a great tackle by Ball in midfield to halt a promising move.
On the hour, Wivey ran the ball down their back line with some good passing and their wing raced in for a fine try which was duly converted to reduce the arrears to just one point. In the 67th minute Wivey retook the lead with a further penalty from Bellamy as a result of Hicks’ yellow carding. Some desperation set in the Albion ranks as they tried to escape from the visitors’ grasp.
Good kicking from the Wivey outsides kept Albion penned back and 7 minutes from the end Bellamy kicked his 5th penalty to give the visitors a 5 point lead. Albion surged back but could not just get over the line. The call of last play arrived as Albion continued to press. Penalties galore abounded in Albion’s favour as Wivey infringed dramatically with two of their players being yellow-carded. Thrice Albion’s bursts at the penalties were resisted. Albion then took a scrum from a further penalty and again Wivey infringed.
Finally and we had now had 5 minutes of added time, Norman took matters into his own hands with a tap penalty and crashed through the Wivey defence to level the scores. Sadly for Albion Smith’s conversion drifted wide and the game ended in a 22-22 draw.
In all probability a fair result as Albion had continually let the visitors in the game with their penalty concessions. However, Albion secured 3 points from this draw – obtaining the 4 try bonus.
Next week Albion travel to Crewkerne – the league leaders – who are in blistering form – this game being rearranged from the inclemency of earlier this year.
Team: Willis; Richards Hale Tidball Taylor; Smith Coates; Hicks Frost Ball Buck Burrows Ruddle Norman Gibson. Replacements: Used – Miller Lloyd. Unused – Berry Steve McCarthy Walker Barnett.
Scorers: Tries – Taylor Buck Norman (2). Conversions – Smith (1).