Albion’s Dirtrackers put a disappointing first half of the season well behind them as they started the second part of the season with probably their best concerted performance of the season. They also avenged an earlier heavy defeat at home to Burnham.
Albion welcomed Walford back to the fold in place of the unavailable Ward; Jones made his first start on the wing; and James Kerry came in to the middle to partner Dickinson.
Playing with the advantage of a stiff wind, Albion went on to the attack immediately. Frost typically burst through and chipped on and won the ball and Kerry was almost in. From the next movement, Kerry set up Jones but the winger dropped the ball with a try begging. Albion maintained the pressure and in the sixth minute, Page broke from a scrum 30 metres out and burst right through the Burnham defence to score a fine try. From the kick-off Burnham’s flanker magnificently caught the ball and charged through and Albion were pressed to hold him. Burnham’s scrum-half then burst through but a last ditch tackle kept him out. Albion now returned to the Burnham half and Burnham’s defensive kicking left a lot to be desired for them but clearly to Albion’s advantage as they remained near the Burnham line for some considerable period. Several tries could have been scored but none came. In the 35th minute Burnham, having weathered the storm, produced a long rumbling drive from their forwards and their scum-half burst up the short side from 30 metres to score a try to level matters. Albion may have rued not taking advantage of several earlier opportunities as they turned to face the elements.
The home side immediately took advantage and in the sixth minute of the second half after considerable pressure near Albion’s line, a Burnham forward burrowed over at the posts to give his side the lead. In the 50th minute Albion again benefitted from another strange Burnham kick which put them under pressure. Burrows dived over but was denied. Albion’s forwards now made the territory count with Gibson storming throughout and well backed by Buck, Frost and with Innalls having come on as replacement providing extra inspiration. Albion did not yield their ground and Walford who always made good ground from Burnham’s loose kicks, came in to the line and created just enough space for Burrows to squeeze in at the corner to reduce the arrears to two points. Burnham hit back but missed a penalty in the 70th minute. The vital score came four minutes later when Albion kicked a penalty to touch, regained the ball and Gibson deservedly drove over to put his side ahead. Burnham battled back and the last five minutes of the game was spent in and around Albion’s line but desperate defence kept the lead for a well-earned victory.
This was a good old-fashioned game played in difficult conditions. Albion should have made the first half advantage count more but they showed considerable poise by not panicking in the second half after Burnham had hit back and camped for long periods in the opposition half and their two scores were as a result of this pressure. This will buoy Albion for the run in – only another ten games and with the leaders Cheddar Valley beckoning on 4 January, they will be in good heart.
Team: Walford; Jones J Kerry Dickinson McCarthy; Coates Page; Gibson Frost Rae Buck Burrows Moulding T Walker Ruddle. Replacements – used – Innalls Goddard Pearce. Unused: Berry.
Scorers: Tries – Page Burrows Gibson.
H-T – 5-5.-