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BARFC 38, Wells RFC 15 (17/01/15)

| 17/01/2015 | Reply


Bridgwater got their season back together with this six try defeat of a plucky Wells side.  In doing so, they crept one point closer to Ivybridge but remain in third place in the league.

Bridgwater made a couple of changes after last week’s defeat at Bideford. Nick Francis returned to the wing in place of Oscar Tregenna whilst Chris Ashwin started the game at centre with Stu Heal joining Adrian Tew and Ali Blundell on the bench.

The players were pleased to welcome former player, Lovejoy Chawatama, as a visitor to the dressing room. He stopped off, to support his old team mates, on his way back from playing for London Scottish against Cornish Pirates on Friday evening.

For home full back, James Martin, it was a strange day. His parents were visiting from Australia and he delighted them and the crowd by scoring two tries in the first quarter.  Unfortunately, he then received two yellow cards with fifteen minutes either side of half time- each for deliberate knocks-on which resulted in a red card.

Bridgwater threw the ball about with abandon in the first minutes. When they stole a scrum against the head after six minutes, the ball was moved left for Martin to score an unconverted try in the corner.Jan15-1227

Wells came back into the game. Aaron Cook missed a kickable penalty for the visitors but then gave a scoring pass inside to centre Luke Jenkins who equalised with an unconverted try.

From the kick off, Bridgwater turned the ball over in midfield and moved it left to Martin, who from 45m out, tore through the Wells defence for a try at the posts converted by Chris Ashwin.

Matt Hastie broke through again from the kick off but Bridgwater had to be content with a penalty, kicked to the corner. Bridgwater set up the inevitable driving maul from the lineout and Hastie was driven over for the third try, converted by Ashwin.

Wells then applied pressure and Martin received the first yellow card of the day. Almost immediately, Wells launched an innocuous-looking move going right, the ball somehow reached Stefan Davies on the wing and from 40m out, he evaded a number of would-be tacklers to score an excellent individual, but unconverted, try in the corner.

The last act of the first half was a yellow card for visiting flanker Tom Clark for diving on the prostrate Nick Francis. The half time score was 26-10.

Wells brought on Alex Payne into the second row at half time and his involvement lasted under 3 minutes before he was red-carded for punching.

The resulting penalty to touch turned into another driving maul with a try for prop Joe Bussell. Ashwin’s conversion from wide out hit the post.

Then came Martin’s second yellow/red card leaving both sides with fourteen men.

Almost immediately, Wells scored under the posts through centre Alex Knight but the hurried conversion hit the post.

After Rob Thompson had been tackled into touch almost on the Wells line, the only other score of the half came when Nick Francis somehow wriggled over the line right in the corner. Ashwin converted with a superb kick.

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To their credit, Wells took the game to Bridgwater in the final quarter and attacked the home side with gusto. However, their handling let them down at the crucial moments and although Bridgwater ended the game with only twelve players following ‘technical’ yellow cards for Rob Allen and Garryn Basson the home side held out for a 38-15 win.

Bridgwater will be well pleased not only with the win, but the manner of the win. The team generally handled very well, stretching the Wells defence with powerful running by all the players. So intent were they on scoring tries, that despite having an accomplished kicker on the field, not once did they attempt a penalty kick at goal despite many relatively easy opportunities.  Wells only attempted one penalty at goal also as they played their part in an entertaining game.

The Bridgwater lineout looked superb for much of the match with good, clean ball being produced. The scrum also looked very strong, totally demolishing one Wells attacking scrum. The backs ran with purpose with Jervis Manupenu pulling the strings. Despite conceding three tries – almost inevitable in such an open game – the Bridgwater defence looked strong especially in the final minutes when they were totally outnumbered.  Skipper Ollie Dunn was again indefatigable and a constant threat to Wells both in attack and defence.

Bridgwater have no game next weekend but will look forward eagerly to the visit of local rivals North Petherton for a 3-00 pm kick off on January 31. If you intend coming to this ‘must see’ game, get there early as a large and vociferous crowd is expected.

Bridgwater & AlbionJan15-5691

Tries:  Martin (2), Hastie,  Spellissy,  Bussell,  Francis
Cons: Ashwin (4)

Tries: Jenkins,  Davies, A. Knight,

Bridgwater Team
James Martin, Garryn Basson, Rob Allen, Chris Ashwin, Nick Francis, Jervis Manupenu,  Roger Drabble, James Bryant,  Matt Hastie,  Joe Bussell, Rob Thompson, Dan Kemmish,  Nick Spellissy,  Ollie Dunn (Capt), Taylor Buller.

Replacements all used:  Adrian Tew,  Ali Blundell, Stu Heal.

Referee: Zerran Bell  (Devon Referees Society)

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

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