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North Petherton 2nds 25, BARFC 2nds 17 (01/03/14)

| 02/03/2014 | Reply

Bridgwater’s second team made the short journey from College Way to Beggars Brook to play North Petherton’s second string, in what was the fourth league encounter between the two clubs at senior level this season. In the reverse fixture Bridgwater had to settle for a losing bonus point in a highly physical game that saw Petherton sneak the win 8-9.

Bridgwater fielded a much changed side from the previous week which saw them leave Wells the right side of an 88-0 drumming. With Bridgwater’s captains from the previous week unavailable; Sluman through injury and Stradling through another call up for the first team, the vastly experienced Matthew Northey skippered the side. In the pack, Alan Trunks and Jason Moulding were replaced by Nick Ball and Dale Walker. With Simon Ranson still tired and recovering from last week’s cameo appearance he resumed his role as coach. The large void left by him was filled by Glenn Foggin, back to rugby after his trip ‘Up North’. Ben Lipscomb also returned to action after a boozy skiing holiday and George Burtenshaw returned to the fold after spending quality time with his family last Saturday. Stradling was joined in the first team by Dan Lang and James Brakes. With John Hill off on a jolly in London; Alex Dickinson and James Kerry, on day release from his job, stepped into the squad.

Less than five minutes into the game, Bridgwater looked to build an attack just inside the Petherton half when an inside pass, meant for Stephen Ward, was intercepted by Petherton. After a snaking run which evaded a number of attempted tackles, the interceptor finally dotted the ball down under the posts and the easy conversion was slotted.

Shortly after, Petherton won a lineout on the Bridgwater five metre line and some swift handling saw the ball reach the other wing at remarkable speed. The try was scored right in the corner but the extras were missed taking Petherton’s lead to 12-0.

Thankfully the Bridgwater side held their nerve after the shaky start and started to string some phases together. They worked their way up the pitch when a crash ball from Rhys Satchell, who produced a fantastic man of the match performance, sucked in a number of defenders. The overlap this produced was immediately capitalised on and slick handling from Tim Hill and Matt Ranson saw Kerry score out wide. The difficult conversion was nailed by Ashley Pippard reducing Petherton’s lead to 12-7.

Petherton came back strong and only some stout defending kept the determined attack out. Particularly by Hill who lifted a player twice his side onto his shoulder. Unfortunately the height difference meant that instead of being lowered to the floor in a controlled manner the attempted dump tackle resulted in the player being lowered back to his feet.

A rolling maul from a Bridgwater lineout in Petherton’s 22 cruised towards the try line and when only five metres out Satchell broke from the maul and made little work of the last defender to score out wide. The conversion was missed levelling the scores 12-12.

With Petherton attacking again, looking to regain the lead, Foggin made a tackle so late that the referee missed it as play had moved on. Fortunately he avoided punishment but moments later a clearance kick, which can only be described as a truly terrible attempt led to Bridgwater conceding a penalty for being offside right in front of the posts. The opportunity to lead the game was too good to miss and Petherton went into the break leading 15-12.

At half time Gary Saunders was replaced by Nick Ball. The fresh legs seemed to revitalise a Bridgwater scrum which had been on top for most of the first half. A 45 metre penalty attempt from Petherton was missed just short and wide.

Ranson, judged by the referee, to have been handling on the floor received a yellow card for his troubles. Petherton took advantage of the numerical advantage and scored two unconverted tries in Ranson’s absence, extending their lead to 25-12  and securing a 4-try bonus point in the process.

Burtenshaw replaced Foggin in the second row and when Ranson returned to the field after his forced break, the scrumming dominance of the Bridgwater pack shone again. With Bridgwater on the Petherton five metre and opting to scrum against a failing Petherton pack time and time again a penalty try should have been awarded. It was not to be though and Bridgwater had to work for every single point of their next try. It was finally scored by Satchell who pounced on the ball when it was driven over the line in what was the last play of the game. The conversion, which would have secured a losing bonus point, was unfortunately missed, meaning Bridgwater left with nothing to show for their brave efforts and Petherton taking the maximum 5 points.

Although the performance did not lack commitment or effort, Bridgwater will be upset with the final score, knowing that a better start to the game could have resulted in an entirely different outcome. The seconds host Castle Cary next week and have a score to settle with the visitors after only claiming a losing bonus point away from home.

Team: Ward, J. Kerry, Dickinson, Owens, Barnett, Pippard, T. Hill; Saunders, Sturdy, Woolford, Northey (Capt), Foggin, M. Ranson, Lipscomb, Satchell
Reps: (Used) Ball, Burtenshaw (Not Used) Walker

Tries: Satchell (2), J. Kerry

Cons: Pippard 

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

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