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BARFC 2nds 12, NPRFC 2nds 12 (07/02/15)

| 07/02/2015 | Reply

College Way saw the second showdown between Bridgwater and North Petherton in as many weeks, with both clubs’ second strings competing for the local bragging rights just seven days after the first teams. In the first team fixture it was Bridgwater who triumphed with a score line of 23-13. Bridgwater second team looked to build on the first team fixture, and their own performance in the reverse fixture which resulted in a 5 point victory despite going down to 13 men. With that victory, home turf and the superior league position over their rivals, Bridgwater were strong favourites to complete the double.

A slight reshuffle in the backline accommodated for the returning Garryn Basson after an extended stint with the first team. John Hill (Snr) moved to fly half and James Brakes to fullback to allow Dan Lang to vacate the outside centre role and fill the wing. In the pack, Dave Norman was promoted from the third XV and Scott Woolford returned from the first XV. Tom Lewis and Doug Page-Symonds were ever present in the engine room whilst Joe Stradling and Matt Ranson switched roles, with the latter starting in place of the former.

It was a classic local rivalry match with high levels of physicality in all aspects of the game. It was a closely fought contest throughout with strong defences from both teams contributing to a scoreless stalemate until the final play of the first half. Poor discipline, from both sides, around the ruck area gifted both teams penalty attempts at the sticks. Both failed to seize the opportunity and take the lead with North Petherton’s effort coming closest when it pinged off the upright. A fantastic effort from Bridgwater’s scrummaging unit saw them break the stalemate with a pushover try scored by number 8 Olly Steward. Hill (Snr) had relieved himself of kicking duties so Hill (Jnr) added the extras and gave Bridgwater a 7-0 lead.

At the half time interval George Sluman was replaced by Joe Stradling. Early on in the half, North Petherton levelled the scores with a try in the corner from a driving maul after a short lineout. Unfortunately for Bridgwater, the Petherton fly half had found his kicking boots and successfully converted the try to make it 7-7. Sluman returned to the field to replace Matt Ranson. After linking some phases together, North Petherton managed to create an overlap and used it efficiently to score out wide in the corner. The tricky conversion was missed, meaning Petherton took the lead for the first time and with time ticking down were sitting at 7-12.

Jay Owens was replaced by Charlie Johnson who made an immediate impact with his characteristic strong running. Bridgwater attacked, not being particularly happy with being behind but when the ball was lost on the North Petherton try line a clearance kick found its way back out of the 22. The referee judged Stradling to have hit the kicker late and as a result of this dangerous play, Stradling was sent to the sin bin for his troubles. With 10 minutes left on the clock, he would remain there for the remainder of the game. Bridgwater seemed to be spurred on by the challenge of being down to 14 men and behind with only minutes left on the clock and attacked. Some strong carrying across the team finally resulted with Brakes reaching out of the try line and securing Bridgwater’s 2nd try. This re-levelled the scores at 12-12. The wide conversion was unsuccessful and with less than 5 on the clock, Petherton kicked off again.

Bridgwater were foolishly penalised for hands in the ruck and, as a result, looked like they had thrown the game away with an easy penalty in front of the posts. Fortunately for Bridgwater, North Petherton’s kicker seemed to have lost his kicking boots again and the kick was pushed wide. After the 22 drop out Petherton attacked again and a gaping hole appeared in the Bridgwater defence. The hole was exploited and Pethy were clean through in a race to the line. Only some fantastic scrambled defence from John Hill (Snr) and Oscar Tregenna caused the ball carrier to knock the ball when he was already over the line. Sluman cleared up, tapping the ball down and racing out to the 22 to counter attack only for the referee to blow the full time whistle and announce the derby a 12-12 draw. A nail biting end to a closely fought game between two well matched teams.

Despite picking up 2 points for the draw it is a case of points dropped for Bridgwater who expected more out of this encounter. With no game next week, Bridgwater’s next second team game will be on the road to Chard on 21st February

Team: Brakes, Tregenna, Basson, Owens, Lang, Hill (Snr), Hill (Jnr); Norman, Knight, Woolford, Lewis, Page-Symonds, Ranson, Sluman (Capt), Steward

Reps: (Used) Stradling, Johnson,

           (Unused) Shaw

Tries: Steward, Brakes

Conversions: Hill (Jnr)

Category: 2nd Previews / Reports -XV, 2nd XV News

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