Ironically this fixture was postponed from 19 January when the ground was deemed to be too wet to allow the original fixture to take place. Albion arrived at Crewkerne and found the pitch was probably sufficiently good for a swimming gala which could easily have been moved from the adjacent pool.
Nevertheless commendably both sides set about the action. Albion again showed a much changed side from that which encouragingly drew with Wiveliscombe the previous week but as they were up against the league leaders, knew that this would be a tough task.
Crewkerne claimed territorial advantage immediately and in just the second minute their half-backs carved out the first of many openings to take play close to the Albion line. The Crewkerne pack pushed Albion back and the half-backs sent the full-back in at the posts for a try which was converted. Despite the conditions the home side’s handling was good, although it naturally lapsed later in the game. Albion however were attempting to run the ball out of defence when a good heave downfield may have been better.
Crewkerne thrived on being close to Albion’s line and secured abundant possession. In the 16th minute Crewkerne extended their lead when their outsides took play close to the line. Albion were penalised and the home stand-off kicked the goal. Drabble and Kerry made good ground for Albion as they finally reached the Crewkerne half but it was the home side who repelled the stronger with once again their half-backs prominent.
Five minutes before half time the Crewkerne scrum-half broke and timed his pass beautifully for his wing to dash over in the corner for an unconverted try. Albion then put in their best spell of the half when they took play to Crewkerne. They gained several penalties which were tapped but the home defence just held.
Albion were disrupted by injury with their stalwarts Frost and Page Symonds both standing out the second half; Coates was also side-lined for part of this period. It did not take Crewkerne long to get into scoring action as in the third minute of the half they swung the ball right and both of their wings handled for the right-wing to cross. Albion were gamely defending and Crewkerne’s handling deteriorated as the conditions took full effect.
In the 57th minute the home scrum-half again worked the blind side and laid on a try for his full-back. Five minutes later Crewkerne created space to score another try. In the last quarter of an hour Crewkerne added two further scores – all four of their last tries were converted to give them a convincing margin.
Albion deserved a score if nothing else. Their side was much changed and somewhat beleaguered following injuries with several players out of position. Nevertheless they stuck to the task well and certainly give the home side a game.
Following the match Albion were distraught to find that their minibus parked in the adjacent car park had been served with a penalty notice. The side had conceded many penalties on the field but did not expect one off it. The appropriate appeal mechanism will no doubt click into gear.
Next week the Dirtrackers visit Ivel – a side whom they beat comfortably at home but who are now high riding in the league. After that is the last home match against Burnham on 6 April and the final match of the season at Wyvern a week later.
Team: Coates; Bull J Kerry Taylor McCarthy; Walford Drabble; Hicks Frost Sparks Page-Symonds Worgan Ruddle Saunders Moulding. Replacements: all played: Berry Burrows Pike Miller Pearce John.