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Saturday’s game not played at Bridgwater & Albion RFC

| 04/03/2024

.  .  At Bridgwater & Albion RFC on Saturday afternoon the stage was all set at College Way for the team to play their  scheduled home fixture against Clevedon in the Western Counties ( North), kicking off at 2.30pm.

The Bridgy Boys had all turned up and were looking to record a double over a team that they beat away from home earlier in the season in what were atrocious conditions.  The pitch was marked out and referee had arrived.  On pitch inspection, the ref was happy to officiate the match.

The only problem was that when the opposition arrived they decided that the pitch was too dangerous to play on. They then duly departed without getting changed.  This was much to the disappointment of the players, officials and the supporters.  All were looking forward to an enjoyable game of rugby on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Bridgwater & Albion RFC Captain, Taylor Buller speaks out

Taylor Buller the Albion team captain had been keen to play the game, but not his Clevedon opposite number.  Ergo, the game did not go ahead.

The Bridgy team captain said: “We think that the game is playable and the referee is happy to manage the game on the pitch but Clevedon have decided that they are not happy and have left.  We are very disappointed because we are here to play rugby.

“Obviously we have had a lot of rain and there is a soft patch on the pitch but we think its playable and the referee agrees that the pitch is playable.  Clevedon aren’t happy and believe it’s dangerous.

Taylor went on: “What the most disappointing thing about today is that when we played up at Clevedon we made a real effort to go up there and get a game of rugby on. They baled water off the pitch used sawdust in the puddles and we still went and played rugby.  But today, with 80% of the pitch in perfect condition, there’s no game.

Geoff Sluman, Bridgwater & Albion RFC Director of rugby said:”

We have had two good nights of training this week.  We had selected a good side to play the game and turned up today with that in mind.

“I have got to say that I’m surprised at the turn of events.  I would never have imagined that this would have happened.  Especially when you compare the playing surface today to the conditions that we played on in Clevedon. There was a guy on the pitch scooping water up with a bucket before the game and throwing sawdust down. So, yes, really surprised the way things have turned out and disappointed that we are not playing.”

Somerset RFU referee Lucy Smith who was making her third visit to officiate at the Albion this season said: “The Clevedon director of rugby has disputed the pitch and ultimately it was left to the captains to decide. The Bridgwater captain agreed to play but the Clevedon spoke to their players and  have declined to play today, so unfortunately the game has not gone ahead.

She added: “I would have been happy to have officiated on the pitch today.”

Grant awarded to the club

Earlier this week there was good news for Bridgwater and Albion.  They have been awarded a grant by the Valencia Communities Fund to provide new floodlights for their training pitch.

The substantial grant has enabled Bridgwater & Albion RFC to install state-of-the-art floodlights on its training pitch, significantly enhancing the playing experience for both players and spectators alike. This transformative upgrade improves visibility but also opens up opportunities for increased community engagement and extended training hours.

Geoff Sluman went on to say: ”We are immensely grateful to Valencia Communities Fund for its support. This grant not only illuminates our playing field but also symbolises the bright future we envisage  for our club. The new floodlights will be the very latest technology.  They are environmentally considerate and much more energy efficient than the existing 30-year-old system.  This will help to control the running costs for the club.”

New floodlights for Bridgwater!

Geoff said that in addition to his appreciation to the Valencia Communities Fund.  Geoff would like to add his thanks to a couple of volunteers from the club who have contributed by working on the project.  Christine Clapham and Sophie Phillips have both been instrumental in the project.

Gareth Williams, Operations Manager at Valencia Communities Fund, said: “We were impressed with both the enhanced community opportunities that the lights will bring as well as the reduction in environmental impact.  We look forward to seeing the lights installed and in use very soon.”

Valencia Communities Fund has a longstanding commitment to supporting local communities and sustainable initiatives. This grant is a testament to their dedication to fostering positive change and enabling organizations like Bridgwater & Albion RFC to thrive.

Geoff added:”We look forward to a continued partnership with Valencia Communities Fund as we work together to strengthen the bonds within our community. We will provide further updates on the project, that has now started.  We expect to be completed by early April 2024.”

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