The Dirtrackers travelled to Martock in the hope of producing their first positive result of the season and so it proved, albeit the game ended in a 12-12 draw.
Heavy overnight rain had left surface water on the pitch and this often hindered the progress of both sides. Albion knew that they had to counter Martock’s large and lumpy pack who would undoubtedly cause them problems and so it proved. For most of the first half, Albion’s scrummage ball was often wheeled and the put-in reversed.
In the early stages Martock attacked strongly through their pack but when the ball went outside, they made little progress. That was until 20 minutes into the game when their outside backs suddenly came to life and created some space for the centre to race over for a try which was converted. Albion came back strongly with some good driving play where Hick, Frost and Buck were always prominent.
Outside Coates always sought an opening and Taylor, Hale and Richards all had their moments with the ball. Willis was always eager to join in from full-back to add some thrust to the Albion attacks. Coates missed a penalty after 30 minutes and just as Albion looked like holding out to half time with a 7-0 deficit, Martock contrived to score a neatly constructed try from the front of the line-out to go in 12-0 at half time.
Albion were able to tighten their game in the second half and had calmed down the Martock forward pressure. As a result, they had much more territory and buzzed Martock’s line for some considerable time. The pressure finally paid off when Buck forced his way over for a try which Coates converted. Here, Buck was always to the fore capably assisted by Hicks, Miller and Falwasser.
The front row of Marsh, Harbour and Stone also earned their corn in these difficult circumstances. Paisey then added some steel to Albion’s defensive work when he appeared late in the game. Then disaster struck as captain Frost was red-carded for allegedly stamping.
However the remaining 14 players responded magnificently and instead of taking rear-guard action, continually attacked. Their efforts were rewarded when Willis – ever alert – cleverly tickled the ball along the ground near the Martock line and followed up to touch down. Unfortunately Coates’ conversion from wide out missed.
There were still 8 minutes remaining and Martock suddenly seized the initiative for the first time in the half. Several penalties put Albion under unnecessary pressure but despite a rousing finale from the home side, Albion’s defence held.
Martock missed a late penalty and the draw was probably a fair result, given the efforts of both sides in two contrasting halves.
Albion will be buoyed with the two points and can now look forward to upping the momentum again in next week’s home match against Minehead Barbarians.
Team: Willis Richards Hale Taylor Bowen Coates Berry Hicks Frost Buck Miller Falwasser Marsh Harbour Stone.
Replacements: Longman Pearce Paisey
Tries: Willis, Buck.