Albion’s Dirtrackers, buoyed by their victory over high riding local rivals Morganians the previous week, travelled to Wells with some optimism of completing the double, having beaten the Cathedral City side 12-7 earlier in the season at home. However despite fielding most of the personnel which contributed to the previous week’s efforts, this was a completely different matter.
In the previous week Albion had succumbed Morganians’ powerful but slow and bumbling pack, but here the Wells forwards were smaller and certainly faster and tore Albion apart at every opportunity. Wells also produced a highly strategic handling and support game which kept the Albion defence fully stretched at all times.
The home side took the lead after their early pressure yielded a penalty in the second minute. Four minutes later Wells maintained their upfield and uphill position and momentum and cleared the way for their full-back to race over for the opening try of the match. Wells’ compact pack was giving the Albion eight some grief in the set scrums. Albion finally got in the game when Collings’ long kick took them out of their half but back came Wells and a well-constructed handling move saw their centre go over for the second try which was duly converted. Albion calmed down matters for 15 minutes and excellent handling by their three-quarters involving Tidball and Denovan saw the latter just halted close to the line. Wells shunted Albion off the next scrum to relieve the pressure but then Collings and Barnett went close for Albion before Wells broke out of their half to telling effect as one of their mobile props made a long break and Wells scored their third try just before half time. The conversion was successful, giving the home side a 22-0 interval lead.
Wells, now with the slope in their favour, immediately attached and were just held; then their wing dropped the last pass with the line at his mercy. However good driving from Albion took them away from trouble. Wells again broke through but this time their last pass found a grateful Albion man. In the 52nd minute Wells moved the ball quickly down the left and their wing crossed for their bonus point try. On the hour mark Albion had their best attacking spell, buzzing the Wells line for several minutes and receiving lots of penalties but they just could not get over the line. In the last 15 minutes Wells picked up the pieces and the pace again with their forwards running rampant and created two further tries, one of which was converted.
In all, a heavy defeat for Albion on the face of it but this was not a poor performance. Albion were flicked away by Wells’ abrasive, pacey and adhesive style of play. Most of the Albion team had their own individual moments but there were not enough of them and they were certainly not as concerted as the home side.
Albion therefore regather, looking ahead now to Saturday’s rearranged match at Somerton when they will be hoping to create a Valentine’s Day massacre of their own.
Team: Denovan; Willis Tidball Barnett Kerry; Collings Page; Modrzynski Frost Ball Buck Coates Moulding Walker Pearce. Replacements – All used – Day Berry Croker.
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