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Bideford 23, BARFC 15 (10/01/15)

| 10/01/2015 | Reply

Jan-9893All good things must come to an end and Bridgwater’s run of eight successive league victories came to a shuddering halt at a very cold Bideford.  The North Devon side looked just that little bit sharper.

Bridgwater outscored the home side by three tries to two and created enough chances for at least three more but, on the day, the home side did enough to secure the points. Bridgwater were pointless for the first time since the first day of the season, and, as a result, slip back to third place behind Ivybridge who won a narrow victory at Wells.

The holidaying Ali Blundell was missing from the Bridgwater line-up but they welcomed back Chris Ashwin to the bench following his remarkable recovery from his shoulder injury at Thornbury just three weeks ago. Doug Page-Symonds joined him and Adrian Tew on the bench.

Bridgwater kicked off on a beautiful looking playing surface into a very stiff breeze and had the best of the opening exchanges. It took over five minutes before the home side got out of their own half but they made their visit pay.

From a scrum around the Bridgwater 22, Bideford moved the ball right and winger James Buckland cut a superb angle to scythe through the defence and score under the posts. Fly half Ollie Wickett converted easily.

Bridgwater came back into the game and were encouraged by a good move involving Nick Spellissy and James Bryant. However, Bideford hit back and Wickett kicked an excellent penalty across the wind to increase the home lead to 10-0 after only 15 minutes.

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Bridgwater put together some impressive forward play, patiently recycling the ball. The home defence held out until they were penalised 30m out. Bridgwater scorned the penalty attempt into the wind and kicked to the corner. Bridgwater won the line-out cleanly and set up a forward drive. This was initially halted but as the ball came back, Matt Hastie spotted a gap and the veteran hooker gathered up the ball and dived over the line for a try. Heal’s conversion was always going to be difficult but became impossible when the wind blew the ball over and he had to resort to a hasty dropped-goal attempt.

Bridgwater then lost their powerful centre, Rob Allen, with a twisted ankle. He was replaced by Ashwin.

Jan-10283On the half hour, Bridgwater yet again scorned a possible three points in favour of a kick to touch. From the line-out, again the initial drive was halted but the ball was recycled a couple of times before Roger Drabble moved it right to Hastie who crossed very close to the touchline giving Heal another impossible conversion attempt.

Bridgwater were happy to be level after half an hour but the final ten minutes of the half belonged to the home side. Their initial advances were defended stoutly and they had to be content with another Wickett penalty.

With the final move of the half, Bideford moved the ball right from a scrum and it eventually reached Chris Snell, who started at scrum half but was now operating at full-back, and he burst through for a try at the posts converted by Wickett for a 20-10 half time score.

The home side continued at the start of the second period as they finished the first. Wickett missed a 30m penalty before Bridgwater got their act together.

Twice, good scoring chances were lost when the potential scoring passes were dropped but Bridgwater kept up the pressure. Eventually the referee lost patience with the home defence and issued a yellow card to flanker Simon Bright. Bridgwater opted for a scrummage but the home side were awarded a relieving penalty.

Tew replaced Joe Bussell, who was carrying a knock and almost immediately, Hastie was over the line again but dropped the ball in the act of scoring. However, the referee was playing advantage and from the resulting penalty, prop James Bryant somehow wriggled over the line in the corner for the third try, again unconverted.

Bridgwater could have scored again but Oscar Tregenna was stopped just short and that turned out to be Bridgwater’s final chance.

Bideford worked their way back into Bridgwater territory and a third Wickett penalty took Bideford eight points ahead at 23-15, thus denying Bridgwater a losing bonus point.

Despite returning pointless, Bridgwater were not too downhearted. Captain Ollie Dunn and Coach, Kevin Innalls were philosophical after the game. They appreciate that they were going to lose a game somewhere along the line and they would prefer to lose this one than one of the up-and-coming home matches.

Newt week sees the first of two consecutive home matches against local opposition. The visitors are Wells who will be out to gain revenge for Bridgwater’s win at Wells earlier in the season. The game will revert to a 3-00pm kick off.


Tries:          Buckland,  Snell
Cons:           Wickett (2)
Pens :           Wickett (3)

Bridgwater & Albion
Tries:          Hastie (2), Bryant

Bridgwater Team
James Martin,  Garryn Basson,  Rob Allen (rep Chris Ashwin 28), Stu Heal, Oscar Tregenna,  Jervis Manupenu,  Roger Drabble, James Bryant,  Matt Hastie, Joe Bussell (rep Adrian Tew 60), Rob Thompson (rep Doug Page-Symonds 73), Dan Kemmish, Nick Spellissy, Ollie Dunn (Capt),  Taylor Buller.

Referee: Adam Wigley (North Midlands Referees Society)

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

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