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BARFC 10, Chard 22 (01/03/14)

| 01/03/2014 | Reply

BARFC’s Mike Berry welcomes RFU President Bob Reeves

The club were honoured to receive a visit from RFU President, Bob Reeves at this afternoon’s game against Chard. However the pressure was truly applied when he announced to a sponsors and former players luncheon before the game that he ‘had been to many games this year and had never failed to see the home side win’. Perhaps the writing was on the wall from this moment…….

Bridgwater welcomed back Nick Francis to the 15 shirt after his lengthy sojourn to Australia. It was a perfect afternoon for rugby, the ground had held up well after the last two matches in poor conditions, it was dry and there was a slight breeze that the visitors had the advantage of in the first 40 minutes.

As is well known in the league, Chard & Bridgwater both play in identical colours – however the visitors failed to remember this and after discussions with the referee had to hastily send back to base for their away strip as they had failed to bring it with them!

Chard made a great start and retained all the possession from the kick off. The first of their 4 tries coming after just 3 minutes when no. 11 Jack Pennington went over the home team’s line. Chris Doak’s kick for the extras was good giving Chard an early 7 point lead.

Chard were denied a good opportunity a few minutes later when a Bridgwater knock-on on their own try line was missed by the Referee. Chard however continued to put great pressure on the Bridgwater side and were finally rewarded at 24 minutes with a try for Bryan Harrison in almost exactly the same position as the first. This time however, Doak’s kick rebounded off the post.

Bridgwater did start to gain some possession in the later stages of the first half but handling and kicking errors abounded and they could make no progress with the ball. Their first real attempt at points came in the 33rd minute with a penalty kick. This was however put wide of the mark.

Some real end-to-end rugby was being played now, but it was Chard that got over the line again just before half-time when Lee Massey scored for the visitors. Doak’s kick again hit the post and rebounded.

Bridgwater made two replacements at the start of the 2nd half with both Roger Drabble and Lovejoy Chawatama taking to the field. We’re not sure what was said to the team during the break, but whatever it was it made a big difference.

From the restart, Bridgwater seemed more confident and certainly had the upper hand in the first 20 minutes. They went over the line after just 4 minutes, but the visiting referee Gary Malpass, quite correctly, adjudged the ball held up. Chard were also showing their frustration after twice being marched backwards by the referee for dissent.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, Bridgwater finally got on the brand new scoreboard (that had been remade after recent storm damage) with a try from prop Joe Bussell who had gathered the ball from the back of the ruck and forced his way over the line for 5 points. The resultant kick was wide.

There followed a stalemate for the next 20 minutes as both sides defended well and neither side could make much progress. This was finally broken by Chard’s Doak crossing the line for their fourth try of the match and their bonus point. He missed the extras from his own try.

Just before the final whistle, Nick Spellissy crashed over the line for Bridgwater for another 5 points and on a day when kicking didn’t seem difficult, the extras were again missed meaning that only one kick from the seven taken was landed by either team.
Bridgwater will not be happy from their performance this afternoon. Despite coming up against a strong side, they had hoped for so much more from their days efforts.

Next week they will travel to Sidmouth where nothing less than a bonus point win is expected from coaches, team and supporters alike.

Bridgwater Team: Nick Francis, Dan Lang, Rob Allen, James Brakes, Garryn Basson, Stuart Heal, Sam Knights, James Bryant, Matt Hastie, Joe Bussell, Ali Blundell, Dan Kemmish, Nick Spellissy, Ollie Dunn, Taylor Buller
Replacements: Lovejoy Chawatama, Joe Stradling, Roger Drabble (All Used)

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

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