DIRTRACKERS VICTORY MAKES SCRUM HALF’S RETIREMENT A HAPPY ONE
BRIDGWATER & ALBION 3rds 51 SOMERTON 27
This match staged to celebrate Albion President Mike Berry’s 50th anniversary of his debut in April 1965 and his last competitive appearance, was a cracker from start to finish. Somerton kindly and willingly provided the opposition and fully entered into the spirit of the occasion and at one point threatened to dampen Albion’s ardour by taking the lead.
Albion fielded their normal Dirtracker stalwarts but were supplemented by Messrs Kemmish, Allen and Bussell who had appeared in the 1st XV match earlier and Simon Martin one of the Club coaches. In addition both Matt House and Brian Webb were having their first outings after long term injuries. Lee Stanley, Albion’s former player also returned for the occasion. A special mention must also been given to the referee Nick Heath who manfully took on the task of controlling this match immediately after he had completed the earlier 1st XV match. His excellent liberal style contributed fully to a flowing game.
The pitch watering had done something to alleviate a hard surface but there were plenty of grazes and everyone knew it when they hit the floor. Albion started off in bustling fashion and within 2 minutes Ruddle stepped inside the last defender to crash over for Buller to convert. Somerton always willing to move the ball well responded quickly with a fine try of their own. For the remainder of the half the sides swapped tries at regular intervals. Frost and Modrzynski crossing for Albion whilst the visitors ran in three of their own to take a 20-17 half time lead. The visitors also included Richards formerly of Albion and also Webber a former capped Albion centre.
In the second half Albion’s extra power and frequent changes always gave them the edge and tries were scored at regular intervals through House, Ward, Kerry, Higginson, Frost again – House and Ward adding conversions. This took Albion to a 46-20 lead. Somerton hit back when young Tom Phillips who showed considerable promise crossed for his sides final try and which he duly converted. This left time for the crowning moment for the celebrant Berry as he rumbled over on the back of a long driving maul from Albion in the last minute. This was his first try for 10 seasons but the 237th of his Albion career. What a way to go out.
This was a delightful occasion watched by a good gathering of all sectors of Club and a magnificent way for Berry to enter retirement. The scrum half played a full game displaying his usual smooth and prompting service from the base which always kept Albion on the move. The match and victory also rounded off the Dirtrackers season which has certainly been reasonable – on their day they showed that they were capable of taking on the best in the league and apart from a deficiency of players at Wyvern the previous week strength has been considerable throughout the season.
After the match Berry congratulated and complemented both sides indicating that he couldn’t of wished for a better spirited opposition than Somerton. He was also delighted to be able to play with several 1st XV players and in particular he struck up a fine partnership with Martin in the closing moments which may suggest a new half back pairing in the 1st XV next season. Champagne, beer and allsorts flowed long into the evening to close down a memorable day.
Team: Ward J Kerry Croker Burrows Willis S Martin Smith Allen House Knott Berry; Kemmish Bussell Frost Modrzynski Buller Hillman Norman Stanley Higginson Day Worgan Buck Ruddell Webb Hobbs.
Scorers: Tries – Ruddell Frost (2) Modrzynski House Ward Kerry Higginson Berry Conversions – Buller House Ward
H-T score: 17-20
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