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Cheddar Valley 5, BARFC 2nds 17 (18/04/15)

| 18/04/2015 | Reply

In the last game of the season, Bridgwater travelled to Cheddar Valley – who were looking for an underdog victory to climb above North Petherton at the bottom of the table and out of the relegation zone. Bridgwater however, had other plans and looked to complete another double against their league opponents, the third in as many games.

After Charlie ‘Big Arms’ Johnson picked up a dodgy patella injury in the previous week, Matt Ranson started at 12 with Dan Lang pushing to 13. Coach (turned player-coach) Simon Ranson came in at prop for the unavailable Adrian Tew. Jon Hill (Jnr) returned from the first team to partner John Hill (Snr) who was starting in place of Jay ‘Made of Glass’ Owens. With the sun beating down on a day built for running rugby, there were more scrums than you could shake a stick at. Bridgwater spent the first half with the vast majority of possession and all of the territory but had nothing to show for it at half time with the team’s level at 0-0 after Hill (Snr) unfortunately missed a penalty shot at the sticks. Cheddar defended manfully but desperately and often bent one or two laws in the process which seemed to slide by, unnoticed by the referee.

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Thankfully, the game managed to open up in the second half and a much more spectator (and backline) friendly game ensued. It still took Bridgwater some time before they ground down Cheddar’s gutsy defence but the break through eventually came through an attacking scrum on the Cheddar 5 metre line. The Cheddar pack crumbled not once but twice in an attempt to stop the eager Bridgwater pack. On the second occasion the referee had finally had enough of the continuous foul play employed by the Cheddar team and awarded a penalty try. John Hill (Snr) slotted the easy conversion to finally give Bridgwater a well-earned lead. A slight reshuffle in the pack saw Josh Sturdy vacate the flank and replace Gavin Knight at hooker. Joe Stradling slipped from the second row back to his usual position on the flank and Tom Lewis came off the bench to replace Knight and slot in the second row.

After the restart, Bridgwater attacked again and were awarded with a penalty in front of the sticks, 20 metres out. James Collings and Ryan Barnett both entered the fray causing another reshuffle, this time in the back line. Barnett replaced Oscar Tregenna on the wing with Collings replacing Dan Lang. John Hill (Snr) moved from fly half to outside centre to allow Collings to fill the number 10 berth. From the restart, the Bridgy pack gathered the kick off and secured the ball allowing James Collings to clear their lines. After a blunder between the full back and the winger, Hill (Snr), now at 13, gathered the ball 40 metres out and set off with an open field in front of him. He just about had the legs to make the distance and was tackled over the line, near the posts by the pursuing winger. He converted his own try to take his personal tally to 12 and Bridgwater’s lead to 0-17.

After this rather frantic 5 minutes of rugby, Cheddar launched their own attack and Bridgwater, halted dangerous attacks near their line twice. However, they eventually conceded a penalty and some quick thinking from Cheddar saw them crash over in the corner. The wide conversion attempt was missed making the score 5-17. Shortly after, the final whistle went, and with it, the end of the season. Another successful double on league opponents whilst doing local rivals North Petherton a favour and denying Cheddar the points needed to jump above them and out of the relegation zone.

The second team have had a fantastic season finishing 4th in the league, which was almost disappointing after spending a large portion of the year in 3rd, demonstrating the determination the team has for success. The young side, the majority of whom are home grown players and have ascended to the senior teams from the colts and juniors set up, show great promise for the future. Accompanied by a core of wise and experienced players and coaches to learn from, they have developed hugely as a team and will be looking to go one step further next year.

Team: Francis, Brakes, Lang, M Ranson, Tregenna, Hill (Snr), Hill (Jnr); Woolford, Knight, S Ranson, Page-Symonds, Stradling, Sturdy, Sluman, Steward
Replacements: (All used) Lewis, Collings, Barnett
Tries: Penalty, Hill (Snr)
Conversions: Hill (Snr) (2)
Penalties: Hill (Snr)

Summary for the season:
Played 26, Won 17, Drawn 2. 713 points scored, 377 points conceded (difference +336), 12 Try Bonus Points, 5 losing bonus points. Total season points 89 and 4th place in the league!
Well done boys – a fantastic season to be proud of!!!

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

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