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1stXV Half-Year Round-up

| 15/12/2014 | Reply

At the end of the 2013/4 season, league officials decreed that Bridgwater had used an unregistered player in a match against Wadebridge Camels in March. Despite a club appeal – the player was a paid up club member but was on the inactive player list –  we were deducted five match points. As a deduction when the offence occurred would have had no effect on the club’s league status, the penalty was postponed until the start of the new season.  Hence, we started this league campaign on -5 points.

We opened our league campaign at St. Austell. We quickly went seven points down and then, after only 12 minutes, went a player down when Ali Blundell was red-carded. Well into injury time, the score was only 22-17 but a late penalty condemned Bridgwater to their only pointless day in the first half of the season.

Bridgwater bounced back the next week against Thornbury and the 47-26 victory cancelled out our negative start to the season.  Our points total moved into the black with two bonus points following a very narrow defeat at Avonmouth by 32-30 before a very tight 39-30 victory over Bideford.

Our first away win of the season came at newly promoted Wells when we returned down the A39 having recorded a 16-29 win. A second consecutive away match saw the local derby at North Petherton. A storm before kick-off kept a few spectators away but the large crowd saw a real local derby. Bridgwater lost Rob Allen to a nasty – but totally accidental – facial injury early on and managed the only try of the game. However, the home side triumphed 9-5.

The home game with league leaders Cleve was a very tense affair. Bridgwater took an early 12-0 lead but Cleve hit back to lead 12-17 at the break. Bridgwater got back to 20-20 in the second half before going 20-28 into injury time. A converted try in the last play of the game brought Bridgwater two bonus points in the 27-28 loss. That proved to be Bridgwater’s last defeat in the first half of the season.

A trip up the M5 to Clevedon saw a relatively comfortable 15-28 victory before a home game with Cullompton. This was postponed for a week to avoid a clash with Bridgwater Carnival but still resulted in a 43-12 victory.

A first visit to Drybrook in the Forest of Dean saw Bridgwater victorious 6-12 before second-placed Ivybridge visited College Way. A very competitive match saw Bridgwater victorious by 34-28. The penultimate match saw Bridgwater visit Matson, who were at the other end of the table. The game was also very competitive but Bridgwater came away victorious 12-27.

The final game saw third-placed Camborne visit Bridgwater – who by now had climbed to fourth in the table. Bridgwater raced into a 19-0 lead after only ten minutes but were pegged back to 26-12 at half time. With just over 10 minutes remaining and Bridgwater down to 14 men, the score was 29-25. Bridgwater managed two short-handed tries in the final minutes to run out 39-25 winners and leap-frog Camborne into 3rd place, only 1 point behind Ivybridge with Cleve another eleven points clear.

The first half of the season saw Bridgwater play six games at home, winning five. They travelled on seven occasions, winning a creditable four matches. They have scored 377 points (third highest in the league) and conceded 264 (2nd lowest). Bridgy have 36 points for nine wins and 13 bonus points and taking away the -5 we started with, puts the team on 44 points at the half way spot.

Skipper, Ollie Dunn has led from the front in every match. He has been joined in all games by James Bryant, who belies his years with many powerful runs, Stuart Heal, who has moved out one spot to inside centre this year, Jervis Manupenu, who has rejoined from North Petherton and slotted in well at fly half and top try scorer, our new Australian full-back, James Martin, who has crossed for ten tries so far.

Stuart Heal has shared kicking duties with another newcomer, Chris Ashwin, a former Bristol player, who has fitted in well at outside centre, allowing the now happily recovered Rob Allen, scorer of eight tries so far, to move out to the wing.

The club are very grateful for the efforts, not only of the players, but also of the hard working coaches, Kevin Innalls, Simon Martin and Mark Irish, manager, Geoff Sluman, touch judge, Roger Hake, kit man/water boys Andy and Josh, physio, Claire and doctor, Donal Hynes, match photographer, Ben, groundsman, Colin and all those others too numerous to mention – including committee personnel, office staff, tannoy men,  gatemen, caterers and bar staff. 

The club are very lucky to have a large group of sponsors. We are very grateful to them for their continued support and hope that they will see some benefit from their support for the club’s on-field activities.

The players and officials would also like to thank the supporters for their continued dedication to the club.  We have been known to outnumber the home supporters when we travel to some grounds. Enjoy the rest of the season!

Stats so far………..

13 – James Martin, Stu Heal, Jervis Manupenu, James Bryant, Ollie Dunn
12 – Dan Kemmish, Nick Spellissy, Oscar Tregenna, Matt Hastie, Taylor Buller
11 – Roger Drabble, Joe Bussell
9 – Ali Blundell
8 – Nick Francis
7 – Rob Allen
6 – James Brakes, Scott Woolford, Bryan Webb, Garryn Basson
5 – George Sluman, Chris Ashwin
3 – Adrian Tew
2 – Ollie McGeown, Josh Sturdy, John Hill, Jon Hill, Rob Thompson
1 – Gav Knight, Sam Chillingworth, Jay Owens, Mitch Windsor, Alex Newman, Doug Page-Symonds

10 – James Martin
8 – Rob Allen
6 – Matt Hastie
5 – Ollie Dunn
4 – Jervis Manupenu, Nick Spellissy, Oscar Tregenna, Taylor Buller
3 – Stu Heal
2 – Roger Drabble, Joe Bussell, Nick Francis, Bryan Webb, Garryn Basson
1 – James Brakes

75 – Stu Heal
57 – James Martin
40 – Rob Allen
30 – Matt Hastie
25 – Ollie Dunn
22 – Jervis Manupenu
20 – Nick Spellissy, Oscar Tregenna, Taylor Buller
13 – Chris Ashwin
10 – Roger Drabble, Joe Bussell, Nick Francis, Bryan Webb, Garryn Basson
5 – James Brakes

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Category: 1st XV News, Previews / Reports -XV

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