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Bristol Barbarians 12, BARFC 2nds 19 (22/11/14)

| 22/11/2014 | Reply

On a day with perfect Rugby conditions written all over it, Bridgwater’s second string travelled the A roads northbound to face 4th in the league Bristol Barbarians. Barbarians were promoted from Bridgwater’s league three seasons ago and within that space of time managed to convince themselves that they would be facing a bunch of ‘posh boys’, terminology that should have been put to rest when the likes of the Ranson sisters and James Brakes stumbled out of the mini bus. Bridgy fielded a similar squad to the team that took to the field against Midsomer Norton last weekend, the few changes came in the shapes of Josh Sturdy, returning after a short stint with the 1st XV the weekend before who passed the baton this weekend onto Captain George Sluman who miraculously found himself getting a full 80 minutes for the 1st XV. Bridgy 2’s also welcomed Olly Steward and Mitch Windsor back to the squad who accompanied 3rd team regular Jason Moulding on the Bench.

Barbarians won the toss of the coin and elected to play the first half down the slope. The first 20 minutes were of an even contest with the forwards from both sides battering away at each other with the backs receiving very limited ball. It was Bristol however who found themselves on the score board first. Bridgwater infringed in the ruck area giving away an easy 3 points right in front of the uprights making the score 3-0 to Barbarians.

Bridgwater held off a number off attacks from Barbarians with some big tackles coming in from the likes of Joe Stradling and Matt Ranson. Bridgwater forced a turn over and the backs were released out wide with Tom Male making good yardage up the park before offloading to Ryan Barnett who was tackled into touch. The Bristol Hookers throw failed to find its mark and Sturdy gathered it well at the back of the lineout, he broke free from a tackle and took a short trundle up the centre of the field before being brought down. A few phases later Barbarians managed to get hands on the ball and were able to kick to touch just inside the Bridgy half. Hooker Gav Knight picked Doughy Page-Symonds out perfectly in the air and Bridgwater formed a maul, they drove it 40 yards into the Bristol half. The Barbarian forwards brought the maul down and Bridgy were granted a penalty. John Hill (The Elder) stepped up and nailed the kick evening out the score to 3-3.

From the kick off Bridgwater again went hunting for points. With the forwards working hard around the fringes the backs were set free for another attack out wide. This time Jay Owens carried and linked well with Male who busted a number of tackles before being dragged down, the Barbarian defenders were seen by the referee entering the ruck from the side and awarded Bridgy with a penalty deep in Barbarian territory, Hill (The Elder) stepped up with confidence and slotted another 3 points for the Bridgy Boys making the score 6-3 to Bridgwater.

As was predicted by the Bridgwater team Bristol Barbarians came back at them with all guns blazing using the gradiant of the considerably angled slope well. Within the last 10 minutes of the second half, Barbarians were quick to score twice with some quick hands from the backs allowing the team to score on both wings making the score 13-6 before the halftime break. Bridgy were handed a break just before the half time whistle in the form of the Bristol Hooker receiving a yellow card for consistent chat towards the referee. 

During the half time break Gav Knight was moved to the bench with Sturdy moving up to hooker and Olly Steward came off the bench to step in at 8 with The white Armitage (Matt Ranson) moving onto the blindside.

 Bridgwater opened the second half the strongest and from the Barbarian kick off they shipped the ball wide and trucked deep into the Bristol half where they remained for some time. Bridgy were awarded twice with penalties and Captain Sturdy elected to go for the corners on both occasions, however the Bridgwater pack were unable to convert the immense pressure into points. Bridgy were then again awarded with another penalty and Hill (The Elder) again full of confidence bagged another 3 points making the score 13-9 to Bristol.

Bristol restarted the game and a bit of miss communication from Symonds and Steward saw the ball knocked forward and Bristol awarded a scrum in Bridgy territory. The Bridgy pack managed to turn the ball over and it was distributed out to the backs. Hill (The Younger) found himself with some space up the wing and attempted a chip and chase, he was taken out without the ball by a Bristol player and Bridgwater were awarded with another penalty inside the Bristol half. The penalty was converted again by Hill (The Elder) making the score 13-12 to Bristol.

After the restart Bridgy still displayed absolute dominance on the park and it was helped with the arrival of the fresh legs of Mitch Windsor who replaced Hill (The Younger). Bridgwater surged forward once again using the combined power of James Brakes and his cousin Male. Bridgy found themselves in strong territory once again and after a few strong phases of play their yard work was rewarded with another penalty from the referee. Sturdy again elected to kick to the corner. With a training field lineout move Sturdy picked Tom Lewis out in the lineout and then re gathered the ball to form the maul, the Bridgwater pack rallied around the pair and began a drive for the line. The maul was dropped just short of the white stuff but Sturdy managed to dive the remaining yards to score the try Bridgwater had been searching for. The extras were again converted by Hill (The Elder) making the score 13-19 to the Bridgy Boys.

With full time drawing closer, Bristol Barbarians found a final gear and began pounding the Bridgy defensive line with quick work from the forwards around the fringes. Bridgwater held strong and didnt give an inch and almost forced a turn over but the ball was knocked on awarding Bristol with a Scrum. Bridgwater once again forced a turn over from the scrum and shipped the ball out to the backs, Male tried to kick long but sliced the ball to the middle of the park with Bristol attackers waiting under it. They attacked once more sending the ball wide where they found an overlap, the final pass went to the Bristol number 8 who had space infront of him. Fortunately for the Bridgy boys he knocked the ball on and this saw the end of the game finally called. The final score was Bristol Barbarians 13 Bridgwater 19.

 With this victory Bridgwater secured their right to be sat at third place in a highly competitive league. Now, with only a few points separating Bridgwater from second place.
The 2nd string have a much deserved weekend off next weekend with a select few travelling with the 1st team to take on local rivals Weston RFC in the cup.  On the return weekend Bridgy 2’s get to take on Keynsham who, like Bristol Barbarians, were also relegated last season. This again should make for a tough encounter.

Report by Josh Sturdy

1(G.Saunders) 2(G.Knight) 3(S.Wolford) 4(D.Page-Symonds) 5(T.Lewis) 6(J.Sturdy Capt) 7(J.Strads) 8(M.Ranson) 9(J.Hill The Younger) 10(J.Hill The Elder) 11(R.Barnett) 12(J.Owens) 13(D.Lang) 14(J.Brakes) 15(T.Male) Reps (O.Steward, M.Windsor, Jason Moulding)

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

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