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Thornbury 14, BARFC 25 (20/12/14)

| 20/12/2014 | 1 Reply

Dec14-2873On a good day for rugby, Bridgwater extended their winning streak to seven matches as they completed the double over a spirited Thornbury side writes Tony Pomeroy. Two tries for Rob Allen and one a piece for James Martin & Chris Ashwin ensured that there would also be a four try bonus point.

With Taylor Buller nursing a thumb injury, Nick Spellissy returned to number8 for Bridgwater and he was joined in the starting line-up by Adrian Tew at loose head, with James Bryant moving to the bench. He was joined there by Josh Sturdy and Jonathon Hill.

Thornbury had first use of the noticeable slope whilst Bridgwater had the advantage of a slight breeze. Surprisingly, Bridgwater played the first half in their traditional strip which was rather similar to that of Thornbury but the players requested a change to the predominantly white kit at half time. 

Bridgwater had the better of the start and kept possession with patient recycling until they lost possession when an injured Thornbury player, being treated by the physio, inadvertently prevented Bridgwater playing the ball, causing a turn-over. Thornbury then had a good period that put Bridgwater under the cosh but the visitors held out.Dec14-9300

Bridgwater’s first real attack after nine minutes brought the first score. Chris Ashwin broke through the middle and handed on to Spellissy. He was tackled in the Thornbury 22 but Bridgwater recycled the ball right where a bit of Aussie ‘sleight of hand’ saw Matt Hastie tap the ball to James Martin for him to get the first, unconverted, try.

This was quickly followed by home full-back Ed Sheldon showing his class. He made a break from just inside his own half and evaded at least three would-be tacklers. He was eventually stopped deep in the Bridgwater 22 but the ball was recycled left for hooker Luke Workman to score near the posts giving Tim Stephens an easy conversion to take Thornbury into the lead.

Dec14-2320Play was fairly even with Jervis Manupenu kicking well out of hand and Martin running well with the ball in hand.

Bridgwater’s scrum was in the ascendancy and when Spellissy broke from a midfield scrum, play went to the home 22. Thornbury were penalised, complained and were marched 10m back. Chris Ashwin kicked the simple penalty to restore the Bridgwater lead.

At the next Bridgwater attack, the home side twice infringed at 5m scrummages before being threatened with a penalty try but at the third scrummage it was a Bridgwater scrum going forward that was penalised for collapsing.

Moments later, Bridgwater won a scrummage on half way and moved the ball right. It reached Rob Allen on the right wing and he cruised past his man for an excellent unconverted try. 

Deep in first half injury time, Stephens missed an eminently kickable penalty for the hosts.Dec14-1959

Bridgwater attacked from the kick off and recycled the ball well. Skipper Ollie Dunn burst through and was halted just short of the line. However, Ashwin was backing up and he picked up and dived over the line for his first ever try for Bridgy. He couldn’t however add the extras top his own try. 

The game became rather scrappy and Bridgwater rang the replacement changes with Sturdy for Thompson and Bryant for Tew.
Midway through the half, Bridgwater again moved the ball right where it finally rested in the arms of Allen. He burst through the home defence and, just staying in the field of play, scored the bonus point try in the corner. Ashwin’s conversion hit the far post but just dropped over the crossbar.

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Allen almost got his third a few minutes later and was only stopped by a despairing last-ditch tackle after a superb run down the touchline.

Bridgwater lost Martin to a slight thigh strain with Jonathon Hill going to full back.

With five minutes to play, Thornbury got a consolation try when winger Mike Gaston crossed. Stephens converted with a good kick.
Just before the end, Bridgwater lost Ashwin with a dislocated shoulder and was replaced by Thompson.

Dec14-1681This was probably not Bridgwater’s best game of the season but they stuck at it and deserved their win which keeps them in third place in the league, only one point behind second-placed, Ivybridge.
Bridgwater’s nemesis in the game was the number of first-up tackles that were unsuccessful and these kept Thornbury in the game to some extent. The pack were solid and pushed the home eight on occasions. Line out work was good and showed a profit in takes against the throw. The backs, as ever, looked very sharp with the ball in hand and it was good to see much of the aimless kicking that had been creeping into games was not in evidence.

This was Bridgwater’s fifth away win of the season matching the number of home wins. However, they have played away eight times so far with only six home games. Parity in this will be restored by the end of January.

The players will relish the rest next week but will need to be very sharp on January 3rd when they entertain Avonmouth, another of the form teams of the moment, for the first of three home matches in January. Bridgwater will be anxious for revenge for a 32-30 defeat at Avonmouth earlier in the season.

Tries: Workman, Gaston
Cons: Stephens (2)

Bridgwater & Albion: 
Tries: Martin, Allen (2), Ashwin
Con: Ashwin 
Pen: Ashwin

Bridgwater Team:
James Martin, Rob Allen, Chris Ashwin, Stu Heal, Oscar Tregenna, Jervis Manupenu, Roger Drabble, Adrian Tew, Matt Hastie, Joe Bussell, Ali Blundell, Dan Kemmish, Rob Thompson, Ollie Dunn (Capt), Nick Spellissy.
Replacements all used: James Bryant, Josh Sturdy, Jonathon Hill

Referee: Richard Parker-Sedgemore (Bristol Society)

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

Comments (1)

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  1. Paul Lovatt says:

    Good result lads, on a roll, keep it up best of luck in the New Year

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