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Cleve 37, BARFC 14 (11/01/14)

| 11/01/2014 | Reply

jan14_8341Cleve retained their place at the top of the table with this solid win over a Bridgwater side once again hit by injuries and non-availability writes Tony Pomeroy.

Bridgwater moved Ash Pippard to full back with Garryn Basson and Sam Knights on the wings and had Roger Drabble back at scrum half. They were also missing prop Lovejoy Chawatama, their newest International player, who has been selected to represent England Students against Portugal on January 24th.

The game was very much a stop-start affair with injuries abounding to players of both sides. Referee, Ian Hillier, took pity on Bridgwater, with only 35 minutes playing time in the first half and even less in the second.

Cleve dominated the first period as Bridgwater struggled to get out of their own half.

The opening score was a 30m penalty by home fly half, Joe Hall, when Bridgwater infringed at a tackle.

A couple of minutes later, a good Bridgwater driving maul, starting on halfway, was halted illegally and fly half Stu Heal was narrowly wide with his 42m penalty attempt.

From the resulting drop-out, Bridgwater lost the ball in midfield. Cleve hacked the ball through but a Bridgwater defender won the race to the touchdown. Moments later, home scrum half Nathan Huntley, picking up the ball from a ruck in midfield, spotted a gap and sprinted 40m for a try under the posts converted by Hall.

Bridgwater occasionally put themselves under pressure with loose passes and aimless kicking and it was no surprise when Cleve extended their lead mid way through the half when skipper, Brad Horman crashed over from short range for an unconverted try.jan14_8373

After 26 minutes. Cleve were reduced to 14 men when centre Marcus Brooker was binned for foul play when he charged at Drabble, who needed treatment before he could continue.

Bridgwater then had a couple of chances to score but each time were let down by their handling. Cleve came back just before the break. They were denied a short-handed try with a debatable call by the referee for a forward pass but it mattered not. From the resulting scrum, Bridgwater heeled cleanly but could not control the ball at the back of the scrum. It popped out and Huntley pounced to score easily with an unopposed 15m run to the line. Hall’s conversion made the half time score 22-0.

The second half was much more even. Bridgwater started with a different mindset. Firstly, Heal made a good break out of defence when Bridgwater won turn-over ball near their own line and then he tried an ambitious tap and go from a penalty in his own 22. However, both came to nothing.

Cleve bounced back and should have scored but for poor handling. However, the bonus point try came when flanker Sam Gatehouse cruised 20m through the visiting defence for a try converted by Hall.

Bridgwater brought on all replacements, necessitating the reshuffling of not only the backs but their pack also.
When Bridgwater offended at a tackle, Hall increased the home lead to 32-0 with a simple penalty.

From the short kick off, Doug Page-Symonds gathered the ball – as he seems to do from the majority of kick offs. It went through a couple of pairs of hands and reached Ollie Dunn who burst through a number of attempted tackles and crashed over the home line near the posts. Heal converted easily.

Page-Symonds again caught the kick off and the ball reached Rob Allen who charged through the home defence. The final defender just managed to grab his shirt and the ball bobbled loose.

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However, Bridgwater were not done. On their own 22 and seemingly going nowhere, replacement Jon Hill and Sam Knights flummoxed the home defence with a bewildering series of inter-passing before the ball again reached Dunn. He burst through the home defence but they just managed to repulse the first charge. The ball was recycled and reached Allen who crossed for a try wide out on the left. Heal converted with an excellent kick and Bridgwater began to believe they could gain something from the game.

With what appeared to be seven minutes left on the clock, Cleve made the game safe when winger, Mike Norman was put clear and scored an unconverted try in the corner.

Moments later, the final whistle blew as the referee, as he had done in the first half, allowed very little injury time, thus depriving the small crowd of, by my stop watch, some ten minutes play in total.

Bridgwater will need to pick themselves up for next week’s home game with Clevedon. The North Somerset side crept above Bridgwater in the league following their home win over Wadebridge but victory for Bridgwater next week will see Albion leapfrog their opponents again.

Tries: Huntley (2) Horman, Gatehouse, Norman
Cons: Hall (3)
Pens: Hall (2)

Bridgwater & Albion
Tries: Dunn, Allen
Cons: Heal (2)

Bridgwater Starting Team:
Ashley Pippard, Garryn Basson, Rob Allen, Will Kerry, Sam Knights, Stu Heal, Roger Drabble (rep Jon Hill 48), James Bryant, Matt Hastie, Joe Bussell (rep Scott Woolford 48), Doug Page-Symonds, Matt Northey (rep Joe Stradling 52), Brian Webb, Ollie Dunn, Dan Kemmish (Capt)

Referee: Ian Hellier (Bristol Society)

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

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