BELEAGUERED DIRTRACKERS UNDER HEAVY FIRE AT WIVELISCOMBE
Report by Mike Berry from the historic Recreation Ground, Wiveliscombe
Despite the fact that this was the only senior B&A match taking place this weekend, the Dirtrackers arrived with just 12 men. Fortunately the courteous Wiveliscombe side willingly supplied the three others to make up the team. What on earth has happened to club esprit? In days of yore then 1st XV and 2nd XV players without a game would be clamouring and banging on doors to see if they could grab a game in the Dirtrackers. Alas, that seems no more. The DT manager reported that others were simply not interested – no doubt preferring to anticipate an alcohol-fuelled day watching some boring International match. Well, they could have done it all as the Wiveliscombe clubhouse hosted an extremely sizeable TV screen and some excellent local beer. Players should remember that when they play for a club – they do precisely that. Whether you are in the 1st XV or otherwise, you play as selected and where required. In these days of only 26 regular fixtures, there is no real excuse for not turning out on spare dates.m
Albion were privileged to play at the historic Recreation Ground in Wiveliscombe where the forefathers established rugby football in 1872 in this West Somerset outpost – this is the second oldest club in Somerset. The sloping pitch has hardly changed over the years and centuries. Albion had first use of the slope but it was the home side who adapted to the conditions both geographically and meteorologically. In the fifth minute the Wivey second row burst through several soft Dirtrackers’ tackles to open the scoring. Ten minutes later Wivey’s scrum-half broke and created his own gap to run through to score for a try which was then converted. Two minutes later Albion were penalised when defending desperately and Wivey’s quick tap resulted in a further goal. Albion came back in the match with their senior stalwarts, notably Page, Buck and Ward well to the fore. They were abetted by Galloway at scrum-half who also put in a sterling effort. Urbonis – the one player exempt from the turning out criticism (he had appeared in midweek in the Cup Semi-Final) – was tireless throughout and tackled his heart out. Albion however could not get over the line and Wiveliscombe counteracted just before half-time when their centre once again broke through several poor tackling attempts from half-way for a further goal to make the half-time score 0-26.
There was no respite for Albion as in the first minute of the second-half a Wivey forward burst through for a further goal. Thereafter Albion, now playing up the slope, coped rather well, making the home side think and putting them to defensive duties. However possession and territory then returned to Wivey’s favour and their forwards powered near the line and Vince the Vicar (late of Taunton) crashed over near the posts for a further goal. In the 68th minute Albion looked like scoring as a quick penalty made progress but floundered at the last pass. Wivey returned to the attack and scored two further tries, one of which was converted to complete a comprehensive victory. Page somehow missed a dropped kick penalty in the very last second which would at least have given Albion something to crow about.
In the circumstances a commendable and spirited display. The team never gave up. Skipper Page clearly led from the front and always caused the Wivey defence some problems with his jinking and breaks; Buck performed notably in driving into the heart of the Wivey defence until hampered by a leg injury late on; Ward showed some nice touches from the back and always had to defend desperately. The young lad Urbonis was undoubtedly the pick of the crop and would clearly have slept well on Saturday night due to his efforts.
Jason Moulding is doing a good job in keeping the Dirtrackers together and he clearly needs support from the rugby committee and more importantly from the players generally. With four games left then Albion are clearly playing for pride – these 12 (15) certainly demonstrated that – more need to join in.
Team: Ward; Smale (Wivey) Leroy Sanders Blewitt; Page Galloway; Arthurs Urbonis Wivey Lee Buck Ruddle Murray Garnham (Wivey). Replacement: Moulding.