South West 1 West
Thornbury 14, Bridgwater & Albion 15
HEAD coach Kevin Innalls praised his side’s determination after a last-minute penalty from Ash Honeywell helped Bridgwater & Albion record their second-successive win and open up a five-point gap from the relegation places.
Crucial tries from Nick Spellissy and Joel Clark set up the platform for the win but Honeywell held his nerve to score with the last kick of the game.
Innalls said: “I am obviously pleased with the win but there were still too many mistakes, particularly losing the ball in the tackle.
“We just have to keep it going now because they are a good squad and we have to keep building.”
Bridgwater deservedly took the lead after 11 minutes. The pack drove a five metre scrum over the Thornbury line for Nick Spellissy to touch down but Stuart Heal’s conversion hit the post.
After 20 minutes, Bridgwater increased their lead to 0-12 when, after good handling, the ball reached Joel Clark who managed to avoid the attempted tackles to score under the posts. Heal converted easily.
Bridgwater full back Nick Francis was yellow carded after 25 minutes for an offence at the tackle close to his own line.
Just before half-time, a clearing kick was caught by home winger Ed Sheldon who set off on a diagonal run before the ball fell to Rich Bennett to register a try, con¬ verted, to make it 7-12 at the break.
In the second half, Thornbury continued to dominate pro¬ ceedings and took the lead with a try from replacement prop, Jon Day, following a forward drive. Stephens’ con¬ version from the touchline was again accurate and gave his side a 14-12 lead with 15 minutes to go.
Bridgwater came right back into the game and ham¬ mered hard at the home defence but could not break through.
Into injury time, Bridgwater were awarded a penalty in a similar position to the one Thornbury had missed earlier.
As Heal started his run-up to kick, the silence was deaf¬ ening but he missed narrowly.
With seven minutes of injury time played, Bridgwater were gifted another penalty and up stepped Honeywell for his first kick of the game and he made no mistake.
Next week, they host Sidmouth, and will be keen to avenge their defeat earlier in the season, before taking on the might of Old Redcliffians who have completed a league double over North Petherton and also beaten Taunton in the Somerset Cup.
Bridgwater Team: Nick Francis, Joel Clark. Rob Allen, Will Kerry, Arg Saliarelis, Stu Heal, Dominik Griffin, James Bryant, Matt Hastie, Christian Preece, Dan Kemmish (Capt), Doug Page-Symonds, Tom King, Mitch Windsor, Nick Spellissy.
Replacements all used: Chawatama Lovejoy, Rob Thompson, Ash Honeywell