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Cleve RFC 13, BARFC 0 (07/02/15)

| 07/02/2015 | Reply

Feb15-6645Bridgwater travelled up the M5 on a cold and overcast day to take on the current league leaders Cleve. They had not been defeated at home this season and only squandered two wins away so this was always going to be a tough game for third placed Bridgwater.

The game was littered with handling errors from both sides, however with the wind chill factor making temperatures very low indeed and the pitch itself vey heavy going, these were perhaps to be expected and to some extent forgiven. It made for a very stop/start game with very little flow.

The home team very much had the best of the first half dominating possession and territory. A large proportion of this can however be put down to Bridgwater’s ill discipline, particularly at the ruck where they were penalised on several occasions for holding on. The penalty count for the half stood at 9-2 in favour of the home side. Most of these were within kicking distance, however Cleve only elected to go for goal twice, both times bisecting the posts.

After just 8 minutes, Bridgwater Prop Adrian Tew received a knee injury which took him off the field for 20 minutes. He was replaced by Gary Saunders, making his 1st XV debut this season.

Despite some valiant attempts at getting over the line, continued Cleve handling errors and great Bridgwater defence ensured no further points troubled the score board this half and at the break the score was 6-0 to Cleve.

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The game was still there for the taking throughout the second half, where Bridgwater now had the advantage of the slight breeze. Bridgwater possibly had the upper hand for much of the half. A great steal at a ruck in the centre of the field from Spellissy gave Bridgwater a great opportunity, however a knock-on 15m from the line ended that challenge.

12 minutes into the half, Bridgwater made two replacements, taking off Roger Drabble and Ali Blundell and replacing them with Ollie McGeown and Rob Thompson respectively.Feb15-6746

Cleve came very close to scoring line when they stole the ball on a Bridgwater line out 10m from their line where a drive and break ensued. The resultant grounding of the ball was however disallowed when the Cleve player crashed into one of his team mates resulting in accidental off side.

32minutes into the half, Bridgwater’s Chris Ashwin took what should have been a standard tackle, however this resulted in a reoccurrence of his dislocated shoulder that he received in the Thornbury game just before Christmas.

Drabble came back on and went to the wing, bringing Rob Allen into the centre to replace Ashwin. At the restart, Cleve came out with the ball and immediately Alex Kilbane broke through the defence and with a short run scored under the posts. The resultant kick was good bringing the score to 13-0.

Bridgwater did not however give up and came back determined not to leave Cleve without at least getting on the scoreboard. A break from Nick Francis down the wing saw an offload to Spellissy who in turn offloaded the Allen. As Allen was tackled 10m out, he offloaded wide to James Martin who was part of a two man overlap, however the ball was passed just forward and following the resultant scrum Cleve cleared the ball.

Overall it was a tough match with both teams complimenting the other on how the game had been played. Bridgwater were unlucky to score on more than one occasion, but Cleve could also have easily added to their points haul. Cleve deserved the win, but Bridgwater should not be downhearted. Bridgwater Head Coach, Kevin Innalls was impressed with the defensive play from his side as they managed to consistently force errors from the league leaders and well as putting in some hard hitting tackles.

Feb15-6773Chris Ashwin has now taken a trip to casualty to have his shoulder assessed, we wish him a speedy recovery.

Bridgwater were pleased to be supported by former (and hopefully future) 1st XV player Arg Saliarelis who has just finished his Masters degree in Bristol.

The team have a week off next week, but in two weeks time they host Clevedon at College Way. Clevedon are having a bit of a resurgence in the leage at present having won their last 5 games, but the Bridgy boys will be looking to stop this run and complete the double ofver the North Somerset side.

Bridgwater Team:
James Martin, Rob Allen, Stuart Heal, Chris Ashwin, Nick Francis, Jervis Manupenu, Roger Drabble, James Bryant, Matt Hastie, Adrian Tew, Ali Blundell, Dan Kemmish, Nick Spellissy, Ollie Dunn (C), Taylor Buller.
Reps – all used: Gary Saunders, Ollie McGeown, Rob Thompson

Referee: Craig Pocock, Bristol Society

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

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