Tribute South West One West
St Austell 41, Bridgwater & Albion 12
BRIDGWATER & Albion's run of three successive wins came to a crashing end as they were beaten 41-12 by high-flying St Austell.
In a game of eight tries, three yellow cards and two reds, the Cornish side proved to be too strong for Albion, despite the visitors having raced into a 12-0 lead through an Ollie Dunn try and a penalty try.
St Austell dominated the early stages of the game despite playing into a stiff breeze.
Bridgwater hardly ever penetrated the home 22 until the 17th minute, when a loose kick out of defence by St Austell reached Matt Hastie on the home 10 metre line.
He dropped the kick and the ball went so far forward that all the players stopped, waiting for the whistle.
Hastie was first to realise that he had not been penalised and kicked the ball deep into the home 22 where it was kicked to touch.
From the line-out, Bridgwater set up a driving maul that was collapsed a couple of metres out and the referee awarded the penalty try, which was converted by Stu Heal - Bridgwater had been gifted seven points.
Moments later, a Bridgwater line-out ploy on the home 10 metre line saw the ball thrown very short to James Bryant.
He handed on to Ollie Dunn looping around to the front and he drove 40 metre through a hesitant defence for an excellent solo try in the corner.
Heal's conversion was just wide but Bridgwater enjoyed a 0-12 lead, albeit somewhat against the run of play.
Five minutes later, St Austell broke their duck - a couple of penalties in quick succession to the home side saw a lineout some ten metres from the Bridgwater line.
From the lineout, St Austell set up a driving maul and the referee was consistent in his interpretation by awarding the home side a penalty try when Sam Knights was adjudged to have entered from the side - Knight was yellow carded for his sins.
Minutes later the home side were level when Number eight Adam Kellow touched down following a period of pressure.
On the stroke of half time, St Austell moved the ball right from a ruck on the Bridgwater 22.
The ball reached Ben Chenoweth on the wing and he evaded the defence for a try converted by Shepherd and a 19-12 half time lead for the home side.
Nick Spellissy replaced Dan Lang at the interval with Bryan Webb moving to the wing.
Shepherd increased the home lead with a penalty in the 42nd minute but Bridgwater held out despite playing into the breeze.
Midway through the half, home winger Ashley Taylor got a brace of tries, earning a valuable bonus point.
The first, converted by Shepherd was a typical winger's try, finishing off a slick move that saw the ball go through many pairs of hands.
The second was a magnificent individual effort, gathering the ball well inside his own half on the left and a coruscating run saw him evade a number of defenders to score in the opposite corner - a truly great try deserving of more than the five points it achieved.
St Austell then had a player sent to the bin for an illegal tackle, before hooker Miles Davey crashed over for a score - Shepherd converted.
Home flanker, Paul Winterbottom, then saw red for an off the ball incident, before Bryan Webb followed in similar fashion for an alleged punch.
The game was brought to a close with St Austell running out comfortable winners - Albion host Chard next Saturday (February 22).
## The Chard match will see a visit to Bridgwater of RFU President, Bob Reeves.
The game is being sponsored in part by The Bridgwater Former Players and anyone who has ever played for Bridgwater is invited to contact Emma at the club (01278 423900) to order a ticket to the pre-match lunch and have a chance to meet the RFU President.
St Austell Tries: Penalty, Kellow, Chenoweth, Taylor (2), Davey Cons: Shepherd (4) Pen: Shepherd
Bridgwater & Albion Tries: Penalty, Dunn Con: Heal
Bridgwater Team: Roger Drabble, James Brakes, Garryn Basson, Jon Hill, Dan Lang, Stu Heal, Sam Knights, Lovejoy Chawatama, Matt Hastie, James Bryant, Ali Blundell, Dan Kemmish (Capt), Bryan Webb, Ollie Dunn, Tayler Buller Replacements used : Scott Walford, Nick Spellissy unused: Simon Martin Referee: Zeb Bell (Devon RRS)